Journal of French Language Studies

Articles

Analysing lexical richness in French learner language: what frequency lists and teacher judgements can tell us about basic and advanced words1

FRANÇOISE TIDBALLa1 c1 and JEANINE TREFFERS-DALLERa1 c2

a1 University of the West of England, Bristol

ABSTRACT

In this paper we study different aspects of lexical richness in narratives of British learners of French. In particular we focus on different ways of measuring lexical sophistication. We compare the power of three different operationalisations of the Advanced Guiraud (AG) (Daller, van Hout and Treffers-Daller, 2003): one based on teacher judgement, one on ‘le français fondamental 1er degré’ and one on frequency of lexical items. The results show that teacher judgement is a highly reliable tool for assessing lexical sophistication. The AG based on teacher judgements is better able to discriminate between the groups than the other operationalisations. It also works better than Vocabprofil (the French version of Laufer and Nation's (1995) Lexical Frequency Profile).

(Received January 2008)

(Revised June 2008)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Françoise Tidball, Department of Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY e-mail: Francoise.Tidball@uwe.ac.uk

c2 Address for correspondence: Jeanine Treffers-Daller, Department of Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY e-mail: Jeanine.Treffers-Daller@uwe.ac.uk

Footnotes

1 We would like to thank Kate Beeching, Jean-Yves Cousquer, Annie Lewis, Gareth Lewis and John Tidball for their help in collecting and/or transcribing the data, the tutors who provided the judgements on the vocabulary items, Brian Richards for his guidance on the reliability analyses of the data and his detailed comments and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions.

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