CEFLING dissemination: Franceschina (2008)

Franceschina, Florencia. 2008. L2 communicative levels meet linguistic profiling. Paper presented at the Estonian Association of Applied Linguistics Conference, 24-25 April 2008, Tallinn, Estonia


I will discuss some conceptual, methodological and empirical issues related to the investigation of the linguistic characteristics of L2 learner grammars at the difference proficiency levels as defined by the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scales. I will report on current work aiming to answer the following question: What linguistic forms and meanings are typical of the language of learners at each CEFR level? I will especially focus on:

  • how to select particular linguistic indicators of L2 proficiency levels in specific languages, and
  • how to trace emergence, mastery, accuracy, frequency and contexts of use of these indicators across proficiency levels.

I will discuss these issues mainly by reference to data from the acquisition of L2 English and L2 Finnish writing, but I will also consider the implications for the identification of linguistic markers of L2 proficiency in other languages and other skills. I will discuss methodological decisions and some preliminary findings from the Academy of Finland-funded CEFLING project (Linguistic Basis of the CEFR for L2 English and L2 Finnish, http://www.jyu.fi/hum/laitokset/kielet/cefling/en).

The CEFLING research team is currently developing a corpus of L2 English and L2 Finnish writing at each of the six CEFR proficiency levels. The data come from adults and children who have completed a range of tasks aimed at tapping various aspects of their writing ability. The bulk of the corpus is cross-sectional, but a smaller-scale longitudinal subcorpus has also been planned. We are adapting the corpus tools developed for the CHILDES project (MacWhinney, 2000) for the transcription and coding of the corpus.

This project is in line with the work of the SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Language Testing in Europe) network. This network brings together second/foreign language acquisition and language testing experts to investigate common concerns about the CEFR.