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. 2010 Sep;1(5):750-758.
doi: 10.1002/wcs.74. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

The Mental Representation of Bilingualism


The Mental Representation of Bilingualism

Claudia Maria Riehl. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Cogn Sci. .


This article addresses the question of how different languages are represented in our memory and how bilingual speakers access these languages in language production. The first section discusses diverse approaches to language storage. It introduces a model that considers connections between different levels of language representation, i.e., conceptual and lexical features, morpho-syntactic information, and phonological patterns. The second section is concerned with access to different languages: the focus here is on language production and models of interactive activation. The next section focuses on control mechanisms that are capable of inhibiting one language while the other is spoken. These theoretical assumptions are illustrated by authentic speech production data that provide insights into the cognitive workings of bilingual speakers. Finally, differences in mental representation due to age of acquisition or language proficiency are discussed and explained by dissimilarities in memory types and neural processes of knowledge activation. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

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