Multidimensional interaction of L2 writing fluency and cohesion: A complexity theory perspective

  • Chao Zhang


Applying a view of L2 writing development from the perspective of complexity theory, this study explores the multidimensionality of L2 writing fluency and cohesion, examines the interaction of their internal dimensions and confirms four types of writing fluency and cohesion development patterns. 14 tasks in one academic year producing 910 essays by 65 learners from southern Africa were collected as the corpus. Factor analysis is used to investigate L2 writing fluency and the cohesion dimension. Non-parametric correlation analysis, LOESS curve and change point analysis are conducted to analyse the multidimensional interactive patterns. Results show the following: 1) L2 writing fluency and cohesion involve five indicators in the three subdimensions of referential cohesion, connective and unit length; 2) the development of writing fluency weakly supports the cohesion development of noun overlap and connective indices, but weakly competes against the development of latent semantics. Dimensions of conjunction and lexical word overlap develop mutually in coordination; and 3) four interaction patterns of L2 writing fluency and cohesion were identified, namely an unstable type, a coordinative type, a competitive type and a coordinativecompetitive type. These findings show significant differences in individual and group statistical features, which expand the scope of interpretation of the complexity theory.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614