Document Type: Original Article


Department of Foreign languages, Isfahan (Khorasgan), Islamic Azad University


The present study sought to identify the similarities and/or differences between texts written by Iranian university students of English teaching major and those written by English natives in terms of syntactic complexity. To this end, an automated computational web tool, namely Coh-Metrix was used to scrutinize a corpus containing 83 text excerpts extracted from 10 dissertations written by Iranian Ph.D. students as well as a comparison corpus including 94 text excerpts selected from 10 Ph.D. dissertations written by English native speakers in terms of four specific measures representing syntactic complexity. The results indicated that among the four measures, Mean Number of Modifiers and Sentence Syntax Similarity functioned as distinctive factors differentiating between the first language (L1) and second language (L2) texts, whereas Left Embeddedness and Minimal Edit Distance were found to be similar between the two corpora. The findings may have several implications for EFL practitioners.


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