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Linguistics Vanguard

A Multimodal Journal for the Language Sciences

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Tuning to languages: experience-based approaches to the language science of bilingualism

Anne L. Beatty-Martínez
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, Pennsylvania State University, 466 Burrowes Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
  • Center for Language Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Paola E. Dussias
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, Pennsylvania State University, 466 Burrowes Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA
  • Center for Language Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2018-02-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2017-0034


Experience-based approaches to language hold that individuals become sensitive to distributed emergent phenomena in their linguistic experience. The purpose of this paper is to bring together experience-based perspectives from the domains of cognitive psychology and linguistics. First, we present an overview of the cognitive processes that underpin experience-based learning, and review the cognitive biases that have been attributed to the emergence of distributional regularities in language. We then discuss the P-chain (Dell, G. S. & F. Chang. 2014. The P-chain: Relating sentence production and its disorders to comprehension and acquisition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 369(20120394). 1–9.), an influential experience-based framework for experience-based theory in psycholinguistics, and present data from bilingual speakers to substantiate the assumptions of the model. Our goal is to focus on language usage in bilinguals to illustrate how individuals can become attuned to linguistic variation in the input and how this input can act as constraining information with critical psycholinguistic implications.

Keywords: bilingualism; experience-based approaches; language processing


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About the article

Received: 2017-07-18

Accepted: 2017-09-13

Published Online: 2018-02-13

Citation Information: Linguistics Vanguard, Volume 4, Issue 1, 20170034, ISSN (Online) 2199-174X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingvan-2017-0034.

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