Memory-based aptitude for nativelike selection: the role of phonological short term memory.

Cylcia Bolibaugh, Pauline Foster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Native speaker competence includes not only grammatical knowledge but also knowledge of communal and conventional word combinations, or nativelike selections. Although all speakers are idiomatic in their L1, very few, even in immersion contexts, are as successful in their L2. This chapter presents the results of a study investigating the receptive nativelike selection ability of adult onset L2 users with long residence in the target language community, and investigates the influence of exposure, phonological short term memory (pSTM) and disposition towards interaction. We suggest that L2 users do accrue information about conventional word combinations through exposure, and that individual differences in pSTM limit both rate of learning and ultimate attainment. Crucially, these influences depend both on the context of learning and age of onset of the learner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSensitive periods, language aptitude, and ultimate L2 attainment.
EditorsGisela Granena, Michael Long
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages230
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameLanguage Learning & Language Teaching


  • second language acquisition
  • collocations
  • PSTM

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