Text simplification and comprehensible input: A case for an intuitive approach

Scott A. Crossley, David Allen, Danielle McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Texts are routinely simplified to make them more comprehensible for second language learners. However, the effects of simplification upon the linguistic features of texts remain largely unexplored. Here we examine the effects of one type of text simplification: intuitive text simplification. We use the computational tool, Coh-Metrix, to examine linguistic differences between proficiency levels of a corpus of 300 news texts that had been simplified to three levels of simplification (beginner, intermediate, advanced). The main analysis reveals significant differences between levels for a wide range of linguistic features, particularly between beginner and advanced levels. The results show that lower level texts are generally less lexically and syntactically sophisticated than higher-level texts. The analysis also reveals that lower level texts contain more cohesive features than higher-level texts. The analysis also provides strong evidence that these linguistic features can be used to classify levels of simplified reading texts. Overall, the findings support the notion that intuitively simplified texts at the beginning level contain more linguistic features related to comprehensible input than intuitively simplified texts at the advanced level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-108
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • computational linguistics
  • corpus linguistics
  • intuitive simplification
  • text comprehensibility
  • text simplification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Text simplification and comprehensible input: A case for an intuitive approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this