Syntactic Complexity of MA thesis and PhD Dissertation Abstracts Written by Native and Non-native Speakers of English


  • Seyed Foad Ebrahimi English Department, Shadegan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shadegan, IRAN
  • Lotfollah Akbarpour English Department, Bushehr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr, IRAN



noun phrase, syntactic complexity, academic text, MA thesis abstract, PhD dissertation abstract


Academic texts have been characterized by the high number of noun phrases; however, to the best the researcher's knowledge, no prior study has investigated the syntactic complexity of noun phrases in abstracts written by native and non-native MA and PhD applied linguistics students. In an attempt to fill this gap, a corpus of 40 abstracts written by native and non-native MA and PhD applied linguistics students was collected and examined. Using two computer applications (L2SCA and TAASSC), the researcher analyzed the corpus to pinpoint possible differences. The findings of this study showed that there were some similarities and differences between the syntactic structures employed in the abstracts of native and non-native MA and PhD students. The results showed that noun phrase syntactic complexity measures (examined through TAASSC) were not successful in differentiating native versus non-native and MA versus PhD writers. The findings suggest that other measures rather than noun phrase complexity measures should be employed.


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How to Cite

Ebrahimi, S. F., & Akbarpour, L. (2021). Syntactic Complexity of MA thesis and PhD Dissertation Abstracts Written by Native and Non-native Speakers of English. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 9(2), 66–79.