Reading and Writing

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1155–1180 | Cite as

Effects of lexical features, textual properties, and individual differences on word processing times during second language reading comprehension

  • Minkyung Kim
  • Scott A. Crossley
  • Stephen Skalicky


This study examines whether lexical features and textual properties along with individual differences on the part of readers influence word processing times during second language (L2) reading comprehension. Forty-eight Spanish-speaking adolescent and adult learners of English read nine English passages in a self-paced word-by-word reading experiment. Linear mixed effects models revealed that for word-level effects, more frequent words facilitated L2 word processing times. In contrast, words with higher concreteness and words with higher orthographic distinctiveness inhibited L2 word processing times. For text-level effects, processing times for L2 words in passages that were simplified at the beginning and intermediate levels were significantly faster than those for words in authentic passages, and L2 word processing times decreased as L2 learners encountered each new passage and as they read words further into each passage. With respect to individual differences, L2 word processing times became quicker for more proficient L2 readers. It was also found that L2 reading proficiency interacted with orthographic distinctiveness, such that more proficient L2 readers had smaller effects of orthographic distinctiveness on L2 processing times than less proficient L2 readers. These findings indicate that various sources, including lexical features, textual properties, and individual differences, all affect word processing during L2 reading comprehension.


Second language reading Word processing Text simplification Individual differences 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 352 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Linguistics and ESLGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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