Investigating pausing phenomena in L2 Chinese writing

Xiaojun Lu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


This study investigates pausing behaviours and cognitive activities associated with pauses in Chinese writing. It additionally examines potential changes in pauses across various stages of the writing process (beginning, middle, end). Thirty-two L2 writers of Chinese wrote four essays on a computer, and their keystrokes were logged. Based on the recording of their last writing performance, participants recalled their thoughts about each pause they made. Thirty-two L1 writers of Chinese provided baseline data following the same procedure. The logged pauses were analysed in terms of frequency and duration according to text location. Stimulated recall comments were categorised based on the content of the reported mental actions. The results revealed that L2 writers of Chinese made frequent between-word pauses which were primarily translation-related. They also stopped often to search for the wanted character(s) after typing Pinyin. L2 writers paused longer between larger text units than smaller ones. Pauses at all locations apart from between-revision pauses occurred more frequently in the middle stages of writing. Pauses were less frequent and longer at the beginning and the end. Similar trends were observed in L1 writing, despite differences in terms of pauses between Pinyin and character, and between clauses, as well as the temporal distribution of pause-related planning and translation processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-153
Journal汉语教学学刊 (Journal of Chinese Teaching and Learning)
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • pause
  • L2 writing
  • L2 chinese
  • Temporal dimension
  • Keystroke-logging
  • stimulated recall


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