Web-based L2 Syntactical Complexity Analyzer

The L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer (L2SCA), developed by Professor Xiaofei Lu at The Pennsylvania State University, is a tool that allows language teachers and researchers to analyze the syntactic complexity of written English language samples, using 14 different measures covering (1) length of production units, (2) amounts of coordination, (3) amounts of subordination, (4) degree of phrasal sophistication and overall sentence complexity. The software runs on UNIX-like (LINUX, MAC OS, or UNIX) systems, which likely calls for familiarity of the command-line interface. The web-based interface to L2SCA, available on this website, eliminates the need for the command line interface and generates the results in just a few clicks away.

Web-based L2SCA: Single Mode

The single mode allows you to analyze a single text for selected syntactic complexity measures. You may choose to see the results of any or all of the 14 indices, and the system will create a graphical representation to visualize the results. Additionally, you may copy and paste another text in order to compare their syntactic complexity.

Web-based L2SCA: Batch Mode

The batch mode allows you to analyze syntactic complexity of written English samples up to 30 files at a time. The results will be a CSV file which can be subsequently imported into spreadsheets or statistical packages for further analysis. Note that the batch mode requires you to register an account before using it. The registration is free and take less than a minute.

By using the web-based software described above, you are acknowledging that you agree to be legally bound and to abide by the LCA Terms of Service. If you intend to publish a paper that used the web-based interface to the LCA software, please cite:

  • Lu, Xiaofei (2010). Automatic analysis of syntactic complexity in second language writing. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 15(4):474-496.
  • Lu, Xiaofei (2011). A corpus-based evaluation of syntactic complexity measures as indices of college-level ESL writers's language development. TESOL Quarterly, 45(1):36-62.
  • Ai, Haiyang & Lu, Xiaofei (2013). A corpus-based comparison of syntactic complexity in NNS and NS university students' writing. In Ana Díaz-Negrillo, Nicolas Ballier, and Paul Thompson (eds.), Automatic Treatment and Analysis of Learner Corpus Data, pp. 249-264. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Lu, Xiaofei & Ai, Haiyang. (2015). Syntactic complexity in college-level English writing: Differences among writers with diverse L1 backgrounds. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 16-27.

If you have any questions, problems, or suggestions regarding the web-based interface to the L2SCA software, please feel free to contact me at: Haiyang Ai's email.