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


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
JournalLanguage Learning
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All data are available through the Open Science Framework repository ( ). Other than the first three and the last author, the order of authors is alphabetical. We wish to thank the following individuals: Nadine Abdelrahman, Blake Anderson, Alexander Dolge, Monica Fantini, Madison Lester, Yue Yu Liao, Chih‐Tsen Liu, Yaara Loyfer, Iva Štefanija Slosar, Roni Stein, and Paul Warren. Research reported in this publication was supported by the following grants: a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnered Research Training Grant, 895‐2016‐1008 (PI: G. Libben); a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2; PI: V. Kuperman); a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant, 435‐2021‐0657 (PI: V. Kuperman); an Azrieli Early Career Faculty Fellowship (PI: N. Siegelman); a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant (PI: D. Titone); the Russian Science Foundation, #21‐18‐00429 (PI: N. Slioussar); the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur; the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, #451‐03‐9/2021‐14/200163; the Israel Science Foundation, #705/20 (PI: R. Frost); a Faculty Research Grant, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, #226239 (PI: I. Elgort); a Professional Staff Congress‐City University of New York Award, #64464‐00‐52 (PI: I. A. Sekerina); the Chinese Language and Technology Center of National Taiwan Normal University (PI: Y. T. Sung); the Tomsk State University Development Programme (Priority2030); the Italian Ministry of Education and Research, #2017W8HFRX (PIs: V. Pirrelli & D. Crepaldi); and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, #HD091013 (PI: D. Compton).

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Rethinking First Language–Second Language Similarities and Differences in English Proficiency: Insights From the ENglish Reading Online (ENRO) Project'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this