Volume 52, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2451-828x
  • E-ISSN: 2451-8298
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This study examines stylistic variation patterns in L1 and L2 Chinese, focusing on two linguistic structures: morphosyntactic particle DE and subject pronoun. The data were from thirteen native speakers, four Chinese instructors, twenty-three L2 Chinese learners, and four Chinese textbooks. Results from variation analysis with frequency description show four general patterns. First, instructors used overt forms of stylistic variants in class significantly more frequently than native speakers did in conversations. Second, learners tended to overuse the overt forms compared with their native speaker peers. Third, learner patterns of stylistic variation aligned closely with those of their teachers. Finally, unlike teacher input, textbook input demonstrated mixed results compared with learner patterns. For DE use, learners’ patterns aligned significantly with those in textbooks, but did not for subject pronoun use. The implications for stylistic variation in conversational and written Chinese are discussed and suggestions are offered for Chinese and foreign language instruction.


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