Chapter 9. Connectionist models of second language acquisition

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Connectionist models have had a profound impact on theories of language science, but researchers have only recently started to explore the implications of these models in second language acquisition. In this chapter we first provide a review of connectionism and second language acquisition. We then discuss models that focus on the complex interactive dynamics involved in learning a second language, with special reference to the effects of age of acquisition on lexical representation and the competition that is engaged during the learning and representation of two languages. We show that connectionist approaches provide significant insights into long-standing debates, including mechanisms of organization and plasticity in the development of two competing linguistic systems.


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