With the advancements in language processing technology, writing on digital devices is an essential part of everyday life in the digital era. Due to the logographic nature of the Chinese language, writers need to pay more attention when composing characters by hand than they do when using input software. Chinese handwriting can pair movement patterns, usually stroke sequencing through well-practised writing (Parkinson et al., 2010), with the language stimuli, namely characters. As a result, the write-to-read effect in Chinese makes handwriting necessary in the study of the Chinese language, especially among CFL(Chinese as a foreign language) learners (Zhang & Reilly, 2015). Furthermore, as with current alphabetic input methods, both Chinese character component input and Chinese pinyin input employ fuzzy matching techniques on the e-devices. As a result, the action of writing using Chinese input software tends not to encourage the memorisation of whole character representations. This is usually the main concern of CFL teachers regarding the use of input systems for language learning.
Nevertheless, because of the frequent use of electronic devices in the digital era, there is a need to equip CFL learners with the skill of keyboard typing using Chinese input software. In addition, some official language proficiency tests are computer-based, requiring CFL learners to use input software to type Chinese characters in order to complete the writing tests. In this context, the current study investigates approximately 12 CFL learners’ experience of handwriting and typewriting and evaluates the writing composition they produce using the two writing modalities. Because of the ease of using pinyin input system, CFL learners tended to give it preference over writing by hand. However, evaluators usually show empathy to texts produced by pen-and-paper.