Why LexTALE?

The need for feasible L2 vocabulary testing in the lab

Given the central role of proficiency in second language research, it is alarming how little consensus there is on how to measure it. Many research laboratories have their own ways of measuring proficiency, which causes a problem concerning the comparability of research results from different laboratories. The majority of bilingual studies use in-house questionnaires including language history questions and / or proficiency ratings, but the validity of these questionnaires is only rarely testified.

Sometimes, more objective measures are used in addition to the questionnaire data, such as picture naming, lexical decision data, examiner ratings of oral proficiency, or (subparts of) official language tests.

However, in many psycholinguistic studies, there is not enough time, money and know-how available to buy and administer elaborate language tests. Besides, which precise aspects of proficiency are relevant to the question under investigation, and whether they are really captured by the proficiency measure employed, is often uncertain.

The LexTALE has been designed to provide researchers with a practical and objective measure of English vocabulary knowledge. Despite its brevity, it has been shown to correlate well with more time-consuming measures of English vocabulary knowledge as well as general English proficiency (Lemhöfer & Broersma, 2012 ).


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