Incoherence in L2 writing: A comparison of expert insider and non-expert outsider ratings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current knowledge of the functional dimensions (e.g., coherence) of L2 written performance is mainly based on expert readers’ views. Non-expert native readers’ perspectives of L2 written productions are not often examined, which prevents a comprehensive and objective understanding of how an L2 writer’s performance may be perceived and evaluated by the target discourse community. Studies to date also lack clear findings of both the types of incoherence phenomena that may exist in L2 texts and the factors that may contribute to such incoherencies. The current study investigates how expert and non-expert native readers evaluate incoherence in L2 Chinese argumentative essays, as well as how their evaluations may differ quantitatively or qualitatively. The findings reveal that although expert readers marked incoherence in L2 writing significantly more frequently than non-expert readers did, expert and non-expert readers displayed similar patterns and tendencies in their judgments pertaining to the frequency with which incoherence instances appeared in the essays and in the severity of the incoherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-197
Number of pages29
JournalChinese Language and Discourse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 24 2020


  • Argumentative essay
  • Coherence
  • Cohesion
  • Expert rater
  • L2 Chinese
  • Non-expert rater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Linguistics and Language


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