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Working memory (WM) is our limited-capacity storage and processing (memory) system that permeates essential facets of our cognitive life such as arithmetic calculation, logical thinking, decision-making, prospective planning, language comprehension, and production. Since the very inception of WM in the early 1960s (Miller et al., 1960), its role in language acquisition and processing has been extensively investigated both empirically and theoretically by researchers from diverse fields of psychology and linguistics, accumulating an increasingly huge body of literature (e.g., see Baddeley, 2003; Gathercole & Baddeley, 1993 for reviews of early studies). Notwithstanding, the field still lacks a comprehensive and updated profile of conceptualizing and implementing working memory in the broad domains of native and second language acquisition, processing, impairments, and training. In this chapter, we introduce a comprehensive handbook in which key areas of inquiry and practice in working memory and language are at the forefront and theoretical ingenuity and empirical robustness are integrated throughout.
The last 50 years have witnessed an exponential growth and significant progress in working memory and language sciences research independently and jointly, though a generalizable theory or model that transcends disciplines is still absent from the literature. Drawing on multidisciplinary insights from cognitive science and emerging patterns from language sciences, we propose an integrated account of working memory as a viable taxonomy framework for linking its putative components and processes with aspects of language acquisition and processing domains and skills, bilingual development, and specific language impairments. We end the chapter by outlining further directions to reinforce the reintegration of working memory and language sciences as couched within the key tenets and basic principles of this integrative account.
Bringing together cutting-edge research, this Handbook is the first comprehensive text to examine the pivotal role of working memory in first and second language acquisition, processing, impairments, and training. Authored by a stellar cast of distinguished scholars from around the world, the Handbook provides authoritative insights on work from diverse, multi-disciplinary perspectives, and introduces key models of working memory in relation to language. Following an introductory chapter by working memory pioneer Alan Baddeley, the collection is organized into thematic sections that discuss working memory in relation to: Theoretical models and measures; Linguistic theories and frameworks; First language processing; Bilingual acquisition and processing; and Language disorders, interventions, and instruction. The Handbook is sure to interest and benefit researchers, clinicians, speech therapists, and advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in linguistics, psychology, education, speech therapy, cognitive science, and neuroscience, or anyone seeking to learn more about language, cognition and the human mind.