Complexity: Activity 2

Lexical complexity – Type-token ratio

  1. One way to measure lexical complexity, or lexical variety, is to calculate a type-token ratio (TTR), which is the total number of different words (types) divided by the total number of words (tokens) in a given segment. (See the Overview of Complexity for more details.) 

    Compute the TTRs for Anna B’s oral and written narratives and compare them using the given transcripts. First, in each narrative below, choose the first 42 fluent eojeol omitting hesitations, false starts, and repetitions; these are your 42 tokens. An eojeol is a spacing unit like a word in English. It consists of a content word or a combination with a content word and one or more function words such as case markers and predicate endings. Second, for each text below, count the total number of 42 eojeols that are unique (i.e., not repetitions of the same word); these are the types. Third, divide the total number of types you counted, by the 42 tokens. The closer this ratio is to 1, the greater the learner’s lexical variety in this segment. You should have two TTRs, one for the oral narrative and one for the written narrative. Which text has a higher TTR? What does this comparison tell you about Anna B’s lexical variety in speech versus writing?

    Anna B’s Oral Narrative

    1 A: 아, 일 번 그림은 아 할머니를 아, 시장 아 볼 거, 아,봐요.
    2     아(.) 아(.) 이 번 그림은(.) 아,  할머니, 아,  아, 아줌마하고 아줌마의 아기를
    3     만났어요. 아(.) 할머니하고 아줌마를 아 (.) 이야기했어요. 음(.) 아기를 아, 병을
    4     봐요. 음, 삼 번 그림은, 에서, 아, 할머니하고 아줌마를 또 얘기했어요. <웃음>
    5     어, 그런데 음(.) 아 (.) 소녀 아기 아, 아, 병을, 아, 가지고 갔어요. <웃음>
    6     아(.) 사 번 그림에서, 아 (.) 소녀 아기, 아, 병, 아주마 가방에서 어, 넣었어요.

    Anna B’s Written Narrative

    슈퍼맏겟에서 할머니는 시장을 봐요. 할머니는 시장을 보는 아주마를 만나요.
    아주마는 소녀 아기 있어요. 할머니는 아주마하고 같이 이야기해요.
    이야기하기 소녀 아기가 병을 가지고 갔어요.
    소녀 아기가 병을 할머니의 가방에서 놓았어요.
    그레서  할머니가 사야 됄 대 할머니가 병을 봐요.
    언제 병을 보고 “어떠게?!”하고 말할 거예요.

    Transcript (PDF)

  2. Below we show you the TTRs we have calculated for the initial 23 eojeols of Sophia’s oral and written narratives. Compare Sophia’s and Anna B’s TTRs on their oral and written narratives. How can you account for differences or similarities that you see in lexical variety produced by these two learners orally and in writing?

    Sophia’s Oral Narrative

    2 S: 네. 나, 아줌마? 아줌마, / 어(.) 어, 쇼, 어, 음식/쇼핑하고/있어요. /
    4 S: 어, 어, 쇼핑할/때, / 음(…)  어(..)  친구가/만나, 만났어요. /
    6 S: 어(..) 치(.) 어, 친구가/ 어 여자/아이/있어요. /
    8 S: 그래서/ 음, 여기는/ 어, 이야기할/때/어, 여자/아이/<웃음> 음 와인/
    9    어 가지고오고/있어요. /  어(.) 하지만, / 어, 어머, 어머니가/안/ 봐요. /
    10    그래서/ <웃음> 아 여기는/ 어, 여자/ 아이/ 음 아줌마/ 가방에서/
    11    와인병/, 어(.) 어(.) 너고/ 있어요. / 그래서/끝, 끝나요./

    20/32 = 0.625

    Sophia’s Written Narrative

    아주마가/ 슈퍼에서/ 쇼핑하고/ 있어요. / 쇼핑할/ 때/ 친구가/만나요. / 친구/딸이/있어요. /
    아주마와/친구는/ 이야기할/때/ 딸은/ 와인병을/ 잡고/아주마의/ 가방에/ 넣어요. /
    아주마는/ 집에/ 가고나서/ 병을/ 찾을/ 거예요. /
    그/다음에/ 슈퍼에/ 돌아가야/돼요. /

    23/32 = 0.718

Please type your answers to the questions in the box below.

When you have finished typing your answer, click to compare your response with the Learner Language staff response.

  1. We calculated the TTR for Anna B’s oral narrative task at 21/42. The TTR for her written narrative task is 23/42 (See the transcript). So, the lexical complexity of Anna B’s written narrative is slightly higher than in her oral narrative. In the oral narrative, she repeatedly designates the picture that she is seeing such as ‘일 번 그림은 (picture number one)’ which may contribute to the lower TTR. In the written narrative, she attempts to use connective forms (incorrectly), and such attempts may contribute to the slightly higher TTR for her written narrative. For example, she uses a phrase ‘이야기하기 (talking)’ which is supposed to be ‘이야기하고 있을 때 (when they were talking)’ in the written narrative while in the oral narrative she produced ‘할머니하고 아줌마를 또 얘기했어요 (The elderly woman and the middle-aged woman talked each other again)’.

  2. The TTR for Sophia’s oral narrative is 20/32, and the TTR for her written narrative is 23/32. As with Anna B, the TTR for Sophia’s written narrative is slightly higher than the TTR for her oral narrative. In addition, the TTRs show that in her written narrative Sophia has more variety overall in her choice of verbs than Anna B (for example, ‘잡다’ and ‘찾다’). Whereas Anna B consistently uses ‘병 (bottle) for the bottle in the given pictures, Sophia uses three different words to refer to it: 와인 (wine), 와인병 (wine bottle), and 병 (bottle). (A compound noun ‘와인병 (wine bottle)’ may be split to ‘와인’ and ‘병’, but based on the spacing unit, eojeol, each expression was counted separately.)



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