Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1879-7865
  • E-ISSN: 1879-7873
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The present article reviews a series of selected functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies focusing on the neuroplasticity of second language vocabulary acquisition as a function of linguistic experience. A clear-cut picture emerging from the review is that brain changes induced by second language vocabulary acquisition are observed at both functional and structural levels. Importantly, second language experience is even able to shape brain structures in short-term training of a few weeks. The evidence that linguistic experience can sculpt the brain in late second language learners, and even solely after a short-term laboratory training, constitutes a strong argument against theoretical approaches postulating that environmental factors are relatively unimportant for language development. Rather, combined neuroimaging data lend support to the determining role of linguistic experience in linguistic knowledge emergence during second language acquisition, at least at the lexical level.


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