Word Complexity is in the Eye of the Beholder

Lexical complexity is a highly subjective notion, yet this factor is often neglected in lexical simplification and readability systems which use a {''}one-size-fits-all{''} approach. In this paper, we investigate which aspects contribute to the notion of lexical complexity in various groups of readers, focusing on native and non-native speakers of English, and how the notion of complexity changes depending on the proficiency level of a non-native reader. To facilitate reproducibility of our approach and foster further research into these aspects, we release a dataset of complex words annotated by readers with different backgrounds.

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