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Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

Editor-in-Chief: Bergs, Alexander / Cohn, Abigail C. / Good, Jeff

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Processing linguistic variation through dual mechanisms of cognitive control

Grant M. BerryORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4376-4305
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, The Pennsylvania State University, 442 Burrowes Building, University Park, PA, United States of America
  • Center for Language Science, The Pennsylvania State University, Moore Building, University Park, PA, United States of America
  • orcid.org/0000-0002-4376-4305
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Published Online: 2016-08-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0033


While rarely difficult for the average speaker/listener, the ubiquity of variation at all levels of linguistic production is a challenge for modern psycholinguistic models of language processing. Variation is perhaps most extreme at the levels of phonetics and phonology, but many models of language processing all but eschew these levels altogether. The current paper posits that cognitive control mechanisms, when divided into proactive and reactive control via a dual mechanisms framework may effectively describe the strategies individuals use to process linguistic variation and, when incorporated into language processing models, can generate novel, testable predictions regarding the origin and propagation of individual differences. By means of example, I illustrate how dual mechanisms of control could be incorporated into a connectionist model of language production. I then describe how dual mechanisms of cognitive control might be relevant for the Adaptive Control Hypothesis and how individual differences in processing strategies may modulate participation in language changes-in-progress.

Keywords: cognitive control; language processing; individual differences; PsychLingVar; language variation and change


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About the article

Received: 2016-04-23

Accepted: 2016-06-29

Published Online: 2016-08-27

Published in Print: 2016-09-22

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 2, Issue s1, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2016-0033.

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