Rethinking First Language–Second Language Similarities and Differences in English Proficiency: Insights From the ENglish Reading Online (ENRO) Project

Noam Siegelman*, Irina Elgort, Marc Brysbaert, Niket Agrawal, Simona Amenta, Jasmina Arsenijević Mijalković, Christine S. Chang, Daria Chernova, Fabienne Chetail, A. J.Benjamin Clarke, Alain Content, Davide Crepaldi, Nastag Davaabold, Shurentsetseg Delgersuren, Avital Deutsch, Veronika Dibrova, Denis Drieghe, Dušica Filipović Đurđević, Brittany Finch, Ram FrostCarolina A. Gattei, Esther Geva, Aline Godfroid, Lindsay Griener, Esteban Hernández-Rivera, Anastasia Ivanenko, Juhani Järvikivi, Lea Kawaletz, Anurag Khare, Jun Ren Lee, Charlotte E. Lee, Christina Manouilidou, Marco Marelli, Timur Mashanlo, Ksenija Mišić, Koji Miwa, Pauline Palma, Ingo Plag, Zoya Rezanova, Enkhzaya Riimed, Jay Rueckl, Sascha Schroeder, Irina A. Sekerina, Diego E. Shalom, Natalia Slioussar, Neža Marija Slosar, Vanessa Taler, Kim Thériault, Debra Titone, Odonchimeg Tumee, Ross van de Wetering, Ark Verma, Anna Fiona Weiss, Denise Hsien Wu, Victor Kuperman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This article presents the ENglish Reading Online (ENRO) project that offers data on English reading and listening comprehension from 7,338 university-level advanced learners and native speakers of English representing 19 countries. The database also includes estimates of reading rate and seven component skills of English, including vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, as well as rich demographic and language background data. We first demonstrate high reliability for ENRO tests and their convergent validity with existing meta-analyses. We then provide a bird's-eye view of first (L1) and second (L2) language comparisons and examine the relative role of various predictors of reading and listening comprehension and reading speed. Across analyses, we found substantially more overlap than differences between L1 and L2 speakers, suggesting that English reading proficiency is best considered across a continuum of skill, ability, and experiences spanning L1 and L2 speakers alike. We end by providing pointers for how researchers can mine ENRO data for future studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)249-294
Number of pages46
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Language Learning published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan.


  • bilingualism
  • cross-linguistic research
  • open science
  • reading
  • second language proficiency


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