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Academic Paper


Title: At the interface: Dynamic interactions of explicit and implicit language knowledge
Author: Nick C. Ellis
Institution: University of Michigan
Linguistic Field: Language Acquisition
Abstract: This paper considers how implicit and explicit knowledge are dissociable but cooperative. It reviews various psychological and neurobiological processes by which explicit knowledge of form-meaning associations impacts upon implicit language learning. The interface is dynamic: It happens transiently during conscious processing, but the influence upon implicit cognition endures thereafter. The primary conscious involvement in SLA is the explicit learning involved in the initial registration of pattern recognizers for constructions that are then tuned and integrated into the system by implicit learning during
subsequent input processing. Neural systems in the prefrontal cortex involved in working memory provide attentional selection, perceptual integration, and the unification of consciousness. Neural systems in the hippocampus then bind these disparate cortical representations into unitary episodic representations. These are the mechanisms by which Schmidt's (1990) noticing helps solve Quine's (1960)
problem of referential indeterminacy. Explicit memories can also guide the conscious building of novel linguistic utterances through processes of analogy. Formulas, slot-and-frame patterns, drills, and declarative pedagogical grammar rules all contribute to the conscious creation of utterances whose subsequent usage promotes implicit learning and proceduralization. Flawed output can prompt focused feedback by way of recasts that present learners with psycholinguistic data ready for explicit analysis. Other processes of acquisition from output include differentiation, analysis, and preemption. These processes of conscious
construction in working memory underpin relationships between individual differences in working memory capacities and language learning aptitude.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Studies in Second Language Acquisition Vol. 27, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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