Patterns of misspellings in L2 and L1 English: a view from the ETS Spelling Corpus


  • Michael Flor University of Bergen
  • Yoko Futagi
  • Melissa Lopez
  • Matthew Mulholland



misspellings, learner corpus, annotation, writing proficiency, word length, word frequency


This paper presents a study of misspellings, based on annotated data from the ETS Spelling corpus. The corpus consists of 3000 essays written by examinees, native (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) of English, on the writing sections of GRE® and TOEFL® examinations. We find that the rate of misspellings decreases as writing proficiency (essay score) increases, both in TOEFL and in GRE. Severity of misspellings depends on writing proficiency and not on NS/NNS distinction. Word-length and word-frequency have strong influences on production of misspellings, showing patterns associated with proficiency. For word-frequency, there is also a clear effect of NS/NNS distinction.


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How to Cite

Flor, Michael, Yoko Futagi, Melissa Lopez, and Matthew Mulholland. 2015. “Patterns of Misspellings in L2 and L1 English: A View from the ETS Spelling Corpus”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 6 (May).