Understanding Cognitive Language Learning Strategies

Sergio Di Carlo


Over time, definitions and taxonomies of language learning strategies have been critically examined. This article defines and classifies cognitive language learning strategies on a more grounded basis. Language learning is a macro-process for which the general hypotheses of information processing are valid. Cognitive strategies are represented by the pillars underlying the encoding, storage and retrieval of information. In order to understand the processes taking place on these three dimensions, a functional model was elaborated from multiple theoretical contributions and previous models: the Smart Processing Model. This model operates with linguistic inputs as well as with any other kind of information. It helps to illustrate the stages, relations, modules and processes that occur during the flow of information. This theoretical advance is a core element to classify cognitive strategies. Contributions from cognitive neuroscience have also been considered to establish the proposed classification which consists of five categories. Each of these categories has a different predominant function: classification, preparation, association, elaboration and transfer-practice. This better founded taxonomy opens the doors to potential studies that would allow a better understanding of the interdisciplinary complexity of language learning. Pedagogical and methodological implications are also discussed.



Cognitive processes, cognitive neuroscience, information processing, second and foreign language acquisition, Smart Processing Model

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.2p.114


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