Working Memory in Second Language Acquisition and Processing Edited by: Zhisheng (Edward) Wen, Mailce Borges Mota, Arthur McNeill

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01 May 2015
Second Language Acquisition
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This unique volume offers a comprehensive discussion of essential theoretical and methodological issues concerning the pivotal role of working memory in second language learning and processing. The collection opens with a foreword and introductory theoretical chapters written by leading figures in the field of cognitive psychology. Following these are three research sections containing chapters providing original data and innovative insights into the dynamic and complex relationships between working memory and specific areas of second language processing, instruction, performance and development. Each section concludes with a commentary which is written by a noted SLA researcher and which charts the course for future research. This book provides a fascinating collection of perspectives on the relationship between working memory and second language learning and will appeal to those interested in the integration of cognitive psychology with SLA research.


Overall, the volume is successful in fulfilling its editors’ aims, i.e. to provide a forum for dialogue between SLA and WM research and to further integrate the two fields. The diversity and reach of the field is amply demonstrated by the range of empirical bases it covers. By including a range of opinions on how to move the WM–SLA field forward, the volume can serve as inspiration for future research programs, thus contributing to the already highly dynamic interface between WM and SLA research.

- Second Language Research, ?1– 11, 2016 - Tom Rankin, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

The editors have done an impressive job of gathering the biggest names from the fields of cognitive psychology and SLA to present a comprehensive review of the state of the art in this field, as well as have created a discussion forum on the SLA-WM relationship.

- Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching 5 (4). 2015. 697-713 - Adriana Biedron, Pomeranian University in Slupsk, Poland

The collection has synthesized and compiled a diversified body of research on WM and its relation to SLA supported by accessible writing styles. Many readers would appreciate that the volume provides an overview of theoretical WM models and empirical studies that are well elaborated by interesting background information, through which the readers come to understand the complex L2 processing strategies, cognitive processes, their measurements in L1 and L2 research, feedback type and L2 self-repair behavior. Combining a range of the theoretical and methodological innovation of WM-SLA research is a particular strength of the volume. As such, this book would be a valuable reference for readers in areas such as cognitive psychology, theoretical linguistics, and education, especially those engaging with topics related to L2 syntactic structures, vocabulary, L2 proficiency, and speech and writing studies.

- LINGUIST List 27.1512, 2016 - Asmaa Shehata, University of Calgary, Canada

Author Biography:

Zhisheng (Edward) Wen is Associate Professor at the School of Languages and Translation at Macao Polytechnic Institute. He has been lecturing in key universities in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao for over 15 years and has researched and published extensively in second language acquisition, psycholinguistics and other areas of applied linguistics.

Mailce Borges Mota is Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil and a research fellow of the prestigious Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). Her research focuses on the relationship between language processing and memory systems.

Arthur McNeill is Director of the Center for Language Education and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has research expertise and publications in key areas of applied linguistics, SLA, teacher education and vocabulary teaching and learning.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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