LextPT: A reliable and efficient vocabulary size test for L2 Portuguese proficiency

  • Li, X. (Speaker)
  • Chao Zhou (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Vocabulary size has been recurrently shown to be a reliable predictor of L2 proficiency in the literature (Meara, 1996; Bonk, 2000; Zavera et al., 2005).
Among the existing tests, LexTALE (Lexical Test for Advanced Learners of English, Lemhöfer and Broersma, 2012) has been shown to be a rapid, valid and accessable instrument for assessing L2 English proficiency. Various equivalents of LexTALE for different languages were developed, e.g. French (Barysbaert, 2013), Spanish, Chinese (Chan and Chang, 2018), and Italian (Amenta et al. 2020). The present study aims at introducing a Portuguese version, LextPT, a vocabulary size test as a predictor of the L2 proficiency of both European (EP) and Brazilian (BP) varieties.
The construction of LextPT included a pilot study and a validation study. In the pilot study, 180 items were tested, including 90 words from the corpora SUBTLEX_PT (Soares et al., 2015) and SUBTLEX_pt_BR (Tang, 2012) and 90 nonwords by Justi et al. (2014) and Venâncio (2018). 130 L1 (69 EP, 61 BP) and 120 L2 speakers (71 EP, 49 BP) participated. They were asked to indicate which words they believed to be real Portuguese words. Based on the point-biserial analysis and the IRT analysis on participants’ responses, the most suitable 90 items (60 words and 30 nonwords) across various difficulty levels and with the strongest discrimination power were included in the final version of LextPT.
The quality of these 90 items was further assessed in a validation study where the responses of 749 new informants, 297 L1 (134 EP, 163 BP) and 452 L2 speakers (270 EP, 182 BP), were analysed. The reliability tests showed that LextPT is valid not only for learners of both varieties (EP: α=0.93; BP: α=0.94), but also for learners with different L1 backgrounds (Chinese: α = .87; Germanic: α = .93; Romance: α = .95; and Slavic: α = .91). Considering its objectivity, validity and efficiency (within 5 minutes), we conclude that the design of LextPT was satisfactory.
Period24 Jun 2021
Event titleXV International Symposium of Psycholinguistics
Event typeConference
Conference number15
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • L2 proficiency
  • Vocabulary size test
  • Bilingualism
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • European Portuguese