Bilingual Episodic Memory: An Introduction

Robert W. Schrauf, Aneta Pavlenko, Jean Marc Dewaele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Our current models of bilingual memory are essentially accounts of semantic memory whose goal is to explain bilingual lexical access to underlying imagistic and conceptual referents. While this research has included episodic memory, it has focused largely on recall for words, phrases, and sentences in the service of understanding the structure of semantic memory. Building on the four papers in this special issue, this article focuses on larger units of episodic memory(from quotidian events with simple narrative form to complex autobiographical memories) in service of developing a model of bilingual episodic memory. This requires integrating theory and research on how culture-specific narrative traditions inform encoding and retrieval with theory and research on the relation between(monolingual) semantic and episodic memory(Schank, 1982; Schank & Abelson, 1995; Tulving, 2002). Then, taking a cue from memory-based text processing studies in psycholinguistics(McKoon & Ratcliff, 1998), we suggest that as language forms surface in the progressive retrieval of features of an event, they trigger further forms within the same language serving to guide a within-language/ within-culture retrieval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-233
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingualism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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