Edited by Lourdes Ortega and ZhaoHong Han
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 48] 2017
► pp. 191–208
Chapter 9A neuropsycholinguistic approach to complexity
Bi/multilingual attrition and aphasia as destabilization
Research on bilingualism has considerably changed our view of language processing, one of the main contributions being a growing awareness of the instability of language systems. While Complexity Theory claims that there is no stability whatsoever, I will argue that there are moments in the life of a language user when language systems are specifically prone to change and discuss three such cases: changes in language use patterns leading to language attrition, adding a new language to the language system, and adaptation to acquired language disorders such as aphasia. Adopting a neuropsycholinguistic approach that compares different situations of typical and disordered language use and takes into account insights from neurosciences, this discussion demonstrates the brain’s adaptive potential when it is faced with structural disorganization or with environmental changes. Furthermore, and very much in line with predictions from Complexity Theory, the findings discussed suggest that language is probably less independent from other cognitive skills than previously thought.
- Changing language-use patterns in healthy bilinguals
- Adding a new language to the system
- Acquired language disorders in monolinguals and bilinguals
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