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    Lukasik, Karolina M. Lehtonen, Minna Soveri, Anna Waris, Otto Jylkkä, Jussi Laine, Matti and Dritschel, Barbara 2018. Bilingualism and working memory performance: Evidence from a large-scale online study. PLOS ONE, Vol. 13, Issue. 11, p. e0205916.

    Sharwood Smith, Michael 2017. Working with working memory and language. Second Language Research, Vol. 33, Issue. 3, p. 291.

    Heller, Benedikt Szmrecsanyi, Benedikt and Grafmiller, Jason 2017. Stability and Fluidity in Syntactic Variation World-Wide. Journal of English Linguistics, Vol. 45, Issue. 1, p. 3.

  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: November 2012

3 - Working memory and (second) language processing


This chapter discusses the interactions between two of the most important human cognitive functions: memory and language. First, the concept of working memory is introduced, along with a brief summary of the evolutions that working memory theory has undergone in the last decades. The second part of the chapter focuses on the role of (verbal) working memory in language acquisition and processing. It is argued that working memory, and especially the ability to temporarily represent serial-order information, is crucially involved in both native and foreign word learning, and perhaps also in sentence and text comprehension. The third and final part of the chapter explores the other direction of the interaction, by questioning whether language processing can influence working memory functioning. This question is addressed with recent behavioral and neurological evidence for a general executive control advantage in bilinguals, which makes a strong case for the trainability of some aspects of working memory.

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Memory, Language, and Bilingualism
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