Ineke Vedder, Veronica Benigno
March 15, 2016
In this article we report on an experiment set up to investigate lexical richness and collocational competence in the written production of 39 low-intermediate and intermediate learners of Italian L2. Lexical richness was assessed by means of a lexical profiling method inspired by Laufer and Nation (1995) and developed by Bardel, Lindqvist and Gudmundson (Bardel and Lindqvist 2011; Bardel et al. 2012; Lindqvist et al. 2011, Lindqvist et al. 2013). The lexical profiler was used to compare the lexical richness of the L2 texts with that of 18 native speakers of Italian. The study focuses on the relationship between lexical richness, operationalized as lexical frequency, and the overall proficiency level in Italian of the L2 learners, measured by a C-test. In order to get a deeper insight into the development of lexical skills in L2, next to the lexical profiling method, an additional analysis of the use of collocations in L2 and L1 was carried out. The results show that although a relationship in L2 between lexical richness, collocational competence and general language proficiency could not be demonstrated, there appeared to be a number of traits which differentiate L2 and L1 writers.