A multidimensional analysis of a written l2 spanish corpus

Yuly Asención-Delaney, Joseph Collentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The present study adds to our understanding of how learners employ lexical and grammatical phenomena to communicate in writing in different types of interlanguage discourse. A multidimensional (factor) analysis of a corpus of L2 Spanish writing (202,241 words) generated by second-and third-year, university-level learners was performed. The analysis uncovered four significant clusters that can be considered distinct discourse types with two main stylistic variations: narrative (characterized by verbal features) and expository (characterized by nominal features). Results also provide examples of the multiple ways that stylistic sophistication and linguistic complexity occur in the L2. Although the Spanish learners' discourse did not show signs of syntactic complexity (e.g. frequent use of relative clauses, subordinate clauses, use of clitics), the frequent use of nominal features affects informational density due to the presence of numerous derivational morphemes. Inflectional complexity in the form of marked forms was not predominant in the data set. Still, the learners' verbal inflections did vary, which is a sign of L2 development (Howard 2002, 2006; Collentine 2004; Marsden and David 2008).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-322
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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