To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
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.
Many general linguistic theories and language processing frameworks have assumed that language processing is largely a chunking procedure and that it is underpinned and constrained by our memory limitations. Despite this general consensus, the distinction between short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) limitations as they relate to language processing has remained elusive. To resolve this issue, we propose an integrated memory- and chunking-based metric of parsing complexity, in which STM limitations of 7 ± 2 (Miller, 1956a) are relevant to the Momentary Chunk Number (MCN), while WM limitations of 4 ± 1 (Cowan, 2001) are relevant to the Mean Momentary Chunk Number (MMCN). Examples of concrete calculations of our new metric are presented vis-à-vis Liu’s MDD metric and Hawkins’ IC-to-word Ratio metric. Related methodology issues are also discussed. We conclude the paper by echoing some recently repeated calls -(O'Grady, 2012 & 2017; Gómez-Rodríguez et al., 2019; Wen, 2019) to include STM and WM limitations as part and parcel of the language device (LD; cf. Chomsky, 1957) in that their impacts are ubiquitous and permeating in all essential linguistic domains ranging from phonology to grammar, discourse comprehension and production.
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.