Inhibitory control and the speech patterns of second language users

Korko, Malgorzata and Williams, Simon A. (2017) Inhibitory control and the speech patterns of second language users. British Journal of Psychology, 108 (1) . pp. 43-72. ISSN 0007-1269 [Article] (doi:10.1111/bjop.12176)

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Inhibitory control (IC), an ability to suppress irrelevant and/or conflicting information, has been found to underlie performance on a variety of cognitive tasks, including bilingual language processing. This study examines the relationship between IC and the speech patterns of second language (L2) users from the perspective of individual differences. While the majority of studies have supported the role of IC in bilingual language processing using single-word production paradigms, this work looks at inhibitory processes in the context of extended speech, with a particular emphasis on disfluencies. We hypothesized that the speech of individuals with poorer IC would be characterized by reduced fluency. A series of regression analyses, in which we controlled for age and L2 proficiency, revealed that IC (in terms of accuracy on the Stroop task) could reliably predict the occurrence of reformulations and the frequency and duration of silent pauses in L2 speech. No statistically significant relationship was found between IC and other L2 spoken output measures, such as repetitions, filled pauses, and performance errors. Conclusions focus on IC as one out of a number of cognitive functions in the service of spoken language production. A more qualitative approach towards the question of whether L2 speakers rely on IC is advocated.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Article first published online: 8 Feb. 2016
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 18882
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Korko, M. and Williams, S. A. (2016), Inhibitory control and the speech patterns of second language users. British Journal of Psychology. doi: 10.1111/bjop.12176, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving (
Depositing User: Malgorzata Korko
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2016 10:56
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 21:17

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