Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Linguistics, Applied

First Advisor

Charles Meyer

Second Advisor

Georgios Mikros

Third Advisor

Corinne Etienne


Academic writing can be a challenge for even the most experienced writers, and more so for L2 English learners. In this study, an analysis of common syntactic complexity forms in L2 English students’ writing and peer-reviewed journal articles was conducted to determine what differences might be present. Of particular interest were the potential differences in syntactic complexity between first, second, third, and fourth year university students, and whether the fourth year university students’ syntactic complexity was similar to that of particular academic disciplines. Using one-way ANOVA analyses on eight different syntactic complexity measures, it was determined that L2 English university students’ writing was still syntactically different from discipline writings at the end of four years of university, although some disciplines did show similarities. Additionally, certain syntactic complexity measures were more indicative of differences in syntactic complexity than others, prompting further investigation into which syntactic complexity measures are more useful for analysis.


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