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A Comparative Analysis of Syntactic Complexity of Middle School English Textbooks

Lezi Qiu


The syntactic complexity of textbooks plays a pivotal role in language learning, infl uencing not only students’ comprehension but also their reading motivation and capability. While earlier textbook analyses often depended on subjective methods or relied on isolated measures, they seldom off ered a holistic view of syntactic complexity. This study employs the L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer, Python 3.11, and SPSS 26.0 to assess and compare 14 syntactic complexity indicators across two prevalent high school English textbook series from the People’s Education Press (PEP) and the Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press (SFLEP). Findings indicate that while PEP has a lower average syntactic complexity, it demonstrates a steadier increase compared to SFLEP. Moreover, PEP presents a more discernible hierarchical pattern in its syntactic complexity relative to SFLEP. This research furnishes significant insights into the quantitative evaluation of syntactic complexity in English textbooks, off ering a foundational framework for textbook assessment and selection in China.


Syntactic complexity; Middle school English textbooks; L2SCA

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18686/ahe.v7i23.9803