Vocabulary of L1 and L2 Graduation Theses Written by English Philology Students: Academic Writing of Montenegrin and US Students Compared

  • Milica Vuković Stamatović University of Montenegro
  • Vesna Bratić University of Montenegro
  • Igor Lakić University of Montenegro
Keywords: lexical profile, lexical variation, LFP, sTTR, academic vocabulary, NAWL


The paper explores the lexical profile of graduation theses written by the students at the University of Montenegro and compares it against that of BA theses authored by native speakers of American English. We study their lexical level (LFP method), lexical variation (sTTR method), and share of academic vocabulary according to the New Academic Word List (Browne, Culligan and Philliphs). We depart from the assumption that L2 academic writing is less complex vocabulary-wise and aim to determine how different it is and where the lexical differences may lie, so that pedagogical recommendations can be made. The results show that the Montenegrin theses are readable at 4,000 words, which means that B2 learners (according to CEFR) can read them at a reasonable level. In contrast, the theses written by native speakers can be read at 7,000 words, i.e. only by those commanding good C levels. As this is in line with our expectations, we conclude that the Montenegrin theses display a sufficient vocabulary size. Since the students still underuse academic vocabulary, we recommend that more emphasis should be placed on it in the course of their studies.


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How to Cite
Vuković StamatovićM., BratićV., & LakićI. (2020). Vocabulary of L1 and L2 Graduation Theses Written by English Philology Students: Academic Writing of Montenegrin and US Students Compared. ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, 17(2), 101-113. https://doi.org/10.4312/elope.17.2.101-113