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24 - How Measures of Working Memory Relate to L2 Vocabulary

from Part V - Bilingual Acquisition and Processing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2022

John W. Schwieter
Wilfrid Laurier University
Zhisheng (Edward) Wen
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
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The capacity for temporary storage and manipulation of information, i.e., working memory (WM), was first reported to be related to vocabulary acquisition over 30 years ago (Daneman & Green, 1986, for general WM capacity; Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989 and Service, 1989, for phonological WM). Although a relationship with L2 vocabulary knowledge has been highlighted repeatedly among different populations, its strength seems to be a function of the aspect of WM (central executive, phonological short-term storage) and vocabulary knowledge (breadth, depth) investigated, and relatedly, the methodological choices made (e.g., measurement instruments, populations – children, adults). In our chapter, we aim to untangle these intersecting effects through a methodological lens. In order to do so, we discuss some published and unpublished results, comparing them according to their methodologies. We finish by proposing new perspectives on the interpretation of some of the commonly used tasks in WM and L2 vocabulary studies.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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