Aspects of working memory in L2 learning

Juffs, Alan and Harrington, Michael (2011) Aspects of working memory in L2 learning. Language Teaching, 44 2: 137-166. doi:10.1017/S0261444810000509

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Author Juffs, Alan
Harrington, Michael
Title Aspects of working memory in L2 learning
Journal name Language Teaching   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0261-4448
Publication date 2011
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1017/S0261444810000509
Open Access Status
Volume 44
Issue 2
Start page 137
End page 166
Total pages 30
Place of publication Cambridge, U.K.
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
This article reviews research on working memory (WM) and its use in second language (L2) acquisition research. Recent developments in the model and issues surrounding the operationalization of the construct itself are presented, followed by a discussion of various methods of measuring WM. These methods include word and digit span tasks, reading, listening and speaking span tasks. We next outline the role proposed for WM in explaining individual differences in L2 learning processes and outcomes, including sentence processing, reading, speaking, lexical development and general proficiency. Key findings are that WM is not a unitary construct and that its role varies depending on the age of the L2 learners, the task and the linguistic domain. Some tests of WM may in fact be tests of differences in ability to attend to aspects of the L2. Future research will focus on matching tests of WM more closely with linguistic tasks and using more standardized, replicable measures of WM in new areas including writing in non-alphabetic scripts, instructional interventions and cognitive neuropsychology.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 42 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 61 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 15 Oct 2011, 17:07:42 EST by Michael Harrington on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures