Contributions of event-related potential research to issues in explicit and implicit second language acquisition

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This chapter discusses how event-related potential (ERP) methodology and research may contribute to the issue of explicit and implicit learning of second languages (L2s). To start, we provide a general introduction to ERPs and an overview of common language-related ERP components, including information about their identifying characteristics, the underlying processes that they are understood to reflect, and whether they reflect explicit or implicit processing and knowledge. After providing this overview of language-related ERPs, we briefly describe the general pattern of ERP components found for L2 processing. Next, we consider the potential contributions of ERPs to explicit and implicit issues in L2 acquisition, and review the L2 literature more precisely by considering the patterns of ERP effects elicited by more explicit and implicit learning conditions in both laboratory and natural settings. Finally, we offer conclusions about the contributions of current L2 ERP research to issues of implicit and explicit L2 acquisition and make suggestions as to future directions for research.


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