Syntactic complexity variation between Dutch learners of English in CLIL education as opposed to regular education
This study investigates the variation in syntactic complexity in written essays by Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) students as opposed to non-CLIL students in The Netherlands. All participants are Dutch learners of English who are in their final year of a secondary school in The Netherlands. The analysis is based on 40 argumentative essays from students in both CLIL and non-CLIL programmes. Based on previous research, eight measures were chosen to assess syntactic complexity and the essays were analysed using Lu’s Second Language Complexity Analyzer. Results reveal significant differences in mean length of clause, coordinate phrases per T-unit and coordinate phrases per clause, indicating that CLIL students generally use longer clauses, and more coordinate phrases in argumentative essays. The other syntactic complexity measures did not show any significant results. This study concludes with possible implications and limitations, with points of focus for future research.
Faculteit der Letteren