The present study investigates how Chinese writers apply linguistic elements to formulate their position and represent their intended meaning, thus building their identity/authorship on the use of personal pronoun across three types of articles: argumentative, descriptive, and narrative biography. Sixty-eight participants were recruited and they were second year college students at intermediate proficiency level. The students’ written compositions were put into the same text file and processed with the concordance AntConc 3.2.1. A semi-structured interview and questionnaire were adopted for more general and in-depth insights on students’ use of personal pronoun. From the analysis, students’ autobiographical and discoursal selves are two clear features that can be found through the examination of the personal pronoun, while the self as author is mainly realized in order to conform to social norms. The different uses of the personal pronoun across three texts are partly because of the authors’ first language, their English language proficiency, and perception toward the target language (English). It is thus suggested that Chinese texts could be further examined on how Chinese student writers transform specific linguistic element into another language, i.e., English.
Key words: writer identity, Critical Discourse Analysis, personal pronoun