Comparison of Three Models Dealing with Working Memory and Its Dimensions in Second Language Acquisition

Abdulaziz Alshahrani


The current status of research on working memory (WM) and its components in second language acquisition (SLA) was examined in this review. Literature search was done on four aspects using search terms in Google Scholar. Hence, the review results are given and introduced. 1. In the definition of WM, some confusion exists on whether short term memory (STM) or recent memory is the same as WM or different. 2. In this review, three main models have been discussed elaborately, as they are the only ones discussed in literature. They are: multicomponent model of Baddeley (2000), embedded process model of Cowan (2005) and attention control model of Engle and Kane (2003). 3. The phonological and executive components of WM were examined in more detail, as these determine the two basic aspects of language acquisition: language characteristics and acquisition methods (Wen, 2012). Overall, the variables related to phonological and executive working memories are evident from published research, but their interactive relationships and affecting factors are not entirely clear. 4. Admittedly, several diverse internal and external factors affect WM in relation to SLA. Some practically useful interventions are indicated by certain findings. 


Working memory, L2 acquisition, Phonological memory, Short term memory

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