Interpersonal resources in letter writing of young L2 Chinese learners

Jianling Liao, Chan Lü

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there has been rich literature examining second language (L2) writers’ use of interpersonal devices to construct authorial identity, express stances, and involve readers in their texts, most studies have focused on adult L2 learners in academic writing contexts. Grounded in the metadiscourse model (Hyland, 2005), the current study investigated how school-age L2 Chinese writers deployed interpersonal resources in letter writing. Both macro-level and micro-level analyses were conducted on a sample of 80 letter texts. Our results suggest that both intermediate and advanced school-age L2 Chinese writers have developed a general awareness of the letter mode by including essential structural elements of a personal letter in their texts. A greater number of or more diversified modal auxiliaries, hedges, directives, and reader markers are associated with higher writing proficiency. Implications for L2 writing pedagogy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103038
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Chinese as a second language
  • Interpersonal resources
  • Letter writing
  • Second language writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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