Writing in a non-alphabetic language on a computer: L2 proficiency, real-time writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese

Xiaojun Lu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Second language (L2) writing processes have received growing attention from researchers for the past three decades. Yet, few studies have examined the processes involved in non-alphabetic language writing. There is also a need to broaden the research on the relationships among individual capacities, the temporal dimension of L2 writing and text quality. To help fill these gaps, this study examined the effect of L2 proficiency on real-time writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese, adopting Rijlaarsdam and Van Den Bergh's (1996) writing model as the theoretical framework.
Thirty-two L2 writers of Chinese performed two argumentative and two narrative writing tasks on a computer using the Pinyin input method. Their behaviours during writing (i.e. speed fluency, pausing and revision) were captured by Translog 2.0 (Carl, 2012). Participants' proficiency in L2 Chinese was measured by a cloze test adapted from Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language. Text quality was determined via ratings, which were carried out by two independent raters using a holistic rating scale. To capture the emergent processes during writing, the whole session for each writing task was segmented into five equal stages.
Linear mixed-effects regression analyses revealed that for the whole session, the increase of L2 proficiency led to greater fluency, fewer within-word pauses and more revisions above the word level. Due to the multiple steps involved in typing Chinese characters, higher-proficient writers also stopped less frequently to search for characters among homophones, while revised characters more often. The impact of L2 proficiency on revision frequencies tended to be mediated by stages of writing. Moreover, L2 proficiency was found to modulate the relationships between writing behaviours and text quality throughout the whole and at the different stages of the writing process. The findings will be discussed with reference to previous research on L2 writers of alphabetic languages.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021
EventWorld Congress AILA 2021 - University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Aug 202120 Aug 2021


ConferenceWorld Congress AILA 2021
Abbreviated titleAILA 2021


  • Second language
  • L2 Chinese


Dive into the research topics of 'Writing in a non-alphabetic language on a computer: L2 proficiency, real-time writing processes and text quality in L2 Chinese'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this