The advocates of multi-competence theory argue that the L2 learners’ language system is unique because of the crosslinguistic influences of both languages. However, the influence of a foreign language on the learner’s L1 has not been extensively investigated. In order to address the gap, the present study sought to investigate the effects of EFL learning on written L1 Chinese at the lexical level. Two studies were conducted on 200 abstracts of MA theses written in Chinese, half on English literature written by Chinese-L1 English majors (EMs), and half on Chinese literature written by Chinese-L1 Chinese majors (CMs). The first study investigated the differences between the two groups in terms of the frequencies of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions in the abstracts. The second study examined the differences in the lexical complexity and diversity between the two groups. The results reveal 12 significant differences in 27 investigated word classes and subclasses, as well as significant differences in lexical complexity, but no significant difference in lexical diversity. The identified differences are discussed from a multi-competence perspective.
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