Neurocognitive approaches to Chinese second language learning

Authored by: Ping Li , Jing Yang

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Second Language Acquisition

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946606
eBook ISBN: 9781315670706
Adobe ISBN:


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The neurocognitive study of Chinese second language learning is an emerging field that integrates perspectives and methods from linguistics, psychology, and neuroscience. We provide a review of some recent studies in this interdisciplinary field that uses functional magnetic resonance imaging, structural magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, and event-related potentials. These studies have allowed researchers to examine second language learning with paradigms from both lab-based artificial language learning and classroom-based natural language learning. Their findings highlight language-specific properties of spoken and written Chinese, which impact second language learners’ functional and structural brain patterns, including brain networks. Future studies should systematically explore the dynamic interactions among language-specific properties, learner variables, and contextual variables, to understand the short-term and long-term effects of second language learning on brain and behavior.

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