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26 - Working Memory and L2 Grammar Learning among Adults

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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This chapter explores the dynamic relationship between working memory (WM) and grammar development across adult L2 learning. For over twenty years, WM has received considerable attention in research on adult second language (L2) development. One reason for this is that L2 learning requires both processing and storage to comprehend input and to extract intake for acquisition, so differences in WM capacity may explain differences in developmental rates. Most studies on WM and morphosyntactic development in adults support the “more is better” hypothesis (Miyake & Friedman, 1998); yet others did not yield evidence in its support (e.g., Foote, 2011; Grey, Cox et al., 2015). While linguistic targets and methods may explain many discrepancies, recent research (e.g., Serafini & Sanz, 2016) may also help us understand these differences as a reflection of changes in what constitutes a cognitively demanding task (i.e., what tasks recruit WM resources) across L2 learning

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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