Applying Phraseological Complexity Measures to L2 French: A Partial Replication Study

Nathan Vandeweerd, Alex Housen, Magali Paquot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study partially replicates Paquot’s (2018, 2019) study of phraseological complexity in L2 English by investigating how phraseological complexity compares across proficiency levels as well as how phraseological complexity measures relate to lexical, syntactic and morphological complexity measures in a corpus of L2 French argumentative essays. Phraseological complexity is operationalized as the diversity (root type-token ratio; RTTR) and sophistication (pointwise mutual information; PMI) of three types of grammatical dependencies: adjectival modifiers, adverbial modifiers and direct objects. Results reveal a significant increase in the mean PMI of direct objects and the RTTR of adjectival modifiers across proficiency levels. In addition to phraseological sophistication, important predictors of proficiency include measures of lexical diversity, lexical sophistication, syntactic (phrasal) complexity and morphological complexity. The results provide cross-linguistic validation for the results of Paquot (2018, 2019) and further highlight the importance of including phraseological measures in the current repertoire of L2 complexity measures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Learner Corpus Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • second and foreign language learning
  • complexity
  • Phraseology
  • L2 French
  • collocations


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