What is LexTALE?

LexTALE stands for Lexical Test for Advanced Learners of English. It is intended for cognitive researchers studying participants with an advanced level of English as a second language in an experimental setting.

What is it?

The LexTALE is a quick and practically feasible test of vocabulary knowledge for medium to highly proficient speakers of English as a second language. It consists of a simple un-speeded visual lexical decision task. In contrast to other vocabulary or proficiency tests, it has been designed to meet the needs of cognitive researchers. It is quick, easy to administer, and free, and yet it is a valid and standardized test of vocabulary knowledge. It has also been shown to give a fair indication of general English proficiency.


On average, the LexTALE takes about 3.5 minutes to complete. It comprises only 60 trials, making it a practically feasible addition to any psycholinguistic experiment.


The LexTALE can either be administered online, or implemented in any experimental software (download the item list and instructions for implementation). The LexTALE can also be downloaded in Praat, Presentation, and Matlab format.


In a large-scale study (Lemhöfer & Broersma, 2012 ) on Dutch and Korean advanced learners of English, the LexTALE was evaluated 1) as a measure of English vocabulary knowledge, 2) as an indicator of general English proficiency, and 3) as an indicator of performance on two psycholinguistic experimental paradigms. LexTALE scores were found to be good predictors of vocabulary knowledge (as measured by L1-L2 and L2-L1 translation), to give a fair indication of general English proficiency (as measured by two thorough and extensive proficiency tests, the TOEIC and the Quick Placement Test), and to correlate well with experimental word recognition data (from lexical decision and progressive demasking experiments). See Validity for more information about LexTALE in relation to other tests.

Better than self-ratings

As many bilingual studies use in-house questionnaires including language history questions or proficiency ratings, the predictive power of the LexTALE was compared to that of self-ratings (Lemhöfer & Broersma, 2012 ). Self-ratings were assessed separately for writing, reading, listening and speaking proficiency. They turned out to be significant predictors of some of the translation accuracy and general proficiency variables, but not as consistently as the LexTALE. Moreover, self-ratings were not significantly related to the experimental word recognition data at all, whereas the LexTALE was.


We would like to invite everybody to use the LexTALE for their research purposes. We would appreciate it if you let us know, just for our information. In your publications, please refer to www.lextale.com and to Lemhöfer & Broersma, 2012 - for updates on this reference, please keep an eye on this website.

Dutch and German versions

Apart from the standardized and validated English version of the LexTALE, there are also a German and a Dutch version of LexTALE available. Although they are not yet validated or tested for their equivalence with the English version, they were developed in parallel to the English version. Both can be done online, and downloaded as item list, and in Praat, Presentation, and Matlab format.


Lemhöfer, K., & Broersma, M. (2012). Introducing LexTALE: A quick and valid Lexical Test for Advanced Learners of English. Behavior Research Methods, 44, 325-343.