Spanish Spanish

Granada University

This software belongs to the ADELEX Research Project
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This tool establishes the Lexical Profile of a given text on the basis of a 2,500-word reference list designed by the ADELEX Project. To compile this pedagogical list, the members of the ADELEX Project took as a starting point the 1,600-word pedagogical list designed by the INTERLEX Project, which corresponds to the minimum receptive vocabulary a student should have when finishing compulsory secondary education, as established by Andalusian educative authorities. What is remarkable about this list is that it does not only considers the frequency of words, but also their range, representativeness and the specific communicative needs of secondary school Andalusian students.

Later on, the ADELEX Project completed this 1,600-word list to reach the final 2,500 words in order to cover post-compulsory secondary education, following the same compilation criteria. Given that educative authorities do not offer any guidelines concerning lexical contents for non-compulsory secondary education levels, the thresholds were established by the ADELEX Project considering all the literature in the field, and building a progressive increase in the number of words up to 2,500 items.

This list is divided into 6 frequency bands:


  • Band 1 (1st year compulsory secondary education): from word no. 1 to word no. 600
  • Band 2 (2nd year compulsory secondary education): from word no. 601 to word no. 900
  • Band 3 (3rd year compulsory secondary education): from word no. 901 to word no. 1,200
  • Band 4 (4th year compulsory secondary education): from word no. 1,201 to word no. 1,600
  • Band 5 (1st year post-compulsory secondary education): from word no. 1,601 to word no. 2,000
  • Band 6 (2nd year post-compulsory secondary education): from word no. 2,001 to word no. 2,500


This tool has been further improved with an analysis of cognates given that this is a factor that greatly influences lexical difficulty. Even though a word may not be frequent in English it may not add difficulty to a text if it is a cognate and is therefore guessable by an L2 learner using his native language as reference. After conducting a study to detect which of the 2,500 words of the list were transparent (and therefore guessable) for Andalusian secondary school students, the following information was obtained:


1. There are words which, in spite of their low frequency, are not problematic for learners given their formal similarity with the L1 word.

2. False friends are difficult to identify for learners at this level ("eventually", "tube", "actually", etc.).

3. There are cognates (Latin origin) that Spanish learners are not able to identify due to historical changes in spelling or to aspects related to word formation ("engineer", "fountain", "disappear", etc.).

4. There are Germanic words which have become borrowings in Spanish and which, therefore, do not represent any difficulty for learners ("piercing", "fashion", "rock’n’roll", etc.).


Taking all these aspects into consideration, we have classified the 2,500 words into "transparent" (i.e. guessable) and "opaque" (i.e. "non-guessable"), in order to establish the percentage of English words which do not add difficulty to a text for a Spanish speaker, even though their frequency may be low.

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