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Susceptibility to interference affects the second and the first language*



Memory is an integral part of language processing. Given this, a better understanding of how people learn, represent and process language requires considerations of the principles of memory that support language comprehension. Cunnings’ paper (Cunnings, 2016) does just this. The core of his proposal is that second language (L2) processing that is non-target like can be explained in terms of memory operations rather than by invoking a shallow processor (cf. Clahsen & Felser, 2006).


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Paola E. Dussias, Penn State University, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, 439 Burrowes Building, University park, PA 16803, U.S.A.


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The writing of this commentary was funded in part by NIH grant 5R21HD071758 to Paola E. Dussias



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Bice, K., & Kroll, J. F. (2015). Native language change during early stages of second language learning. NeuroReport, 26, 966971.
Clahsen, H., & Felser, C. (2006). Grammatical processing in language learning. Applied Psycholinguistics, 27, 342.
Cunnings, I. (2016). Parsing and working memory in bilingual sentence processing. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, doi:10.1017/S1366728916000675.
de Bot, K., Lowie, W., & Verspoor, M. (2007). A Dynamic Systems Theory approach to second language acquisition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10 (1), 721.
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Dussias, P. E., Perrotti, L., Carlson, M., & Morales, L. (2016). Exposure to a second language can change processing routines in the first language. Paper presented at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Granada, Spain. May 5–8.
Dussias, P. E., & Sagarra, N. (2007). The effect of exposure on syntactic parsing in Spanish–English bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 10, 101116.
Kroll, J. F., Dussias, P. E., Bice, K., & Perrotti, L. (2015). Bilingualism, mind, and brain. In Liberman, M. & Partee, B. H. (Eds.), Annual Review of Linguistics, 1, 377394.


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