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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is now widely accepted that language attrition is inextricably linked to processes and mechanisms that have their origin in the human mind/brain. However, the field of attrition has built on linguistic, sociolinguistic, and applied linguistic perspectives, and psycholinguistic or neurolinguistics approaches did not have a place in this tradition until relatively recently. In this introductory chapter, we first of all sketch how psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic insights have very quickly become a pillar of attrition research. To do this, this introduction explores language attrition as a processing, memory, and brain mechanism before turning to an outline of the contributions in this section. As part of this tripartite introduction, models and theories that are introduced include activation and inhibition, declarative vs. procedural memory, retrieval induced forgetting, the savings account, and neural multifunctionality and plasticity.

Keywords: psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, language processing, memory retrieval, brain mechanisms

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