The Impact of Second Language Proficiency on Chinese ESL Learners’ English Word Recognition

Lan Luan, Huili Wang


This study investigated the impact of Chinese ESL learners’ second language (L2) proficiency on English word recognition in a lexical decision task. The study focused on the interaction among one between-participant variable (L2 proficiency) and three within-participant variables (orthographic neighborhood density, word frequency, and words/nonwords). ANOVA and two-tailed t-test indicated that: the accuracy (ACC) differences to orthographic neighborhood density (High/Low N), word frequency (High/Medium/Low F) and words/nonwords between high/low L2 proficiency (High/Low P) participants were significant respectively, while reaction time (RT) was not. In terms of ACC, highly-proficient Chinese ESL learners performed better using words with N, F, words/nonwords factors than low-proficient ones. In conclusion, higher L2 proficiency facilitated Chinese ESL learners’ English word recognition in a lexical decision task blocked by N, F, words/nonwords factors.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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