Written by:
Mar 5, 2020

The Connection Between Language and Memory

Why does the way we speak affect the way we think? A language is a tool that shows our intentions. Mostly we don’t control processes in daily life, but language has a deep connection with our behavioral characteristics. And what is the function of memory in all these processes?  

As types of memory differ, the same differences appear in the ways we get and process information. Just like every student in university chooses their own method of learning, our brain detects the most comfortable way to understand the language as a communicative mechanism. 

For example, if you are studying in a foreign country and have to do homework that isn’t in your native language, you have to turn to academic assistance. One of the most reliable examples of academic essays you may find at the Essay Shark writing service.

For better understanding the contribution of various linguists, neurobiologists, and logicians, this article determines the importance of memory developments and implementing them in the language process. This consideration will help to find more details about memory function in developing language skills based on cognitive psychology.   

language and memory

Branching of Languages 

In theory, there are two language classifications: Left Branching and Right Branching languages. Right Branching (RB) means a phrase begins with a subject and expands into detail about that subject, and Left Branching (LB) means sentences start with information on the subject and lead up to revealing the issue.  

LB and RB speakers are significantly different in their ability to recall initial and final impulse, showing a clear connection between branching direction and working memory. Real-time sentence perception relies more heavily on retaining initial information in LB languages but not in RB languages. 

Native speakers of Left Branching languages have significantly better working memory capacity for items presented earlier in a memory task. Native speakers of Right Branching languages have a far better memory for details shown later. Otherwise, the way we speak affects the way we think and vice versa. 

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Memory Structure

Schemes that activate memory and cause common language reactions are significant for understanding how the mind works. This process helps to track the flow of conversation. There are five main memory parts:

  • Short-term memory or working memory.
  • Long-term memory.
  • Sensory memory. This part is divided into the echoic and iconic memory. 
  • Explicit memory, also known as declarative, can be subdivided into semantic and episodic memory. 
  • Implicit memory has components of procedural memory and priming effects.

To be sure, some situations may cause hesitance that a language is a tool that changes a person’s fundamental goals, values, and beliefs. However, a bilingual person speaking two different languages does not magically become two completely different people. Instead, language creates a strong context that can draw various aspects of ourselves forward.   

If a person chooses a language to learn, it is better to get familiar with its structure to understand how native speakers think. Language is a reflection of people’s culture in every country. Memory plays a significant role in forming communication.    


Language creates scripts and patterns of behavior in our memory. From the first words in childhood and the environment where a child grows, every factor is determinant. We can use understanding, reminding, and forgetting things that surround us. 

Mostly, associations play a significant role in learning new words. The fact that branching and word order may be linked to such a fundamental cognitive process like memory opens up further exciting avenues for psycholinguistic research towards expanding the pool of languages and populations investigated. 

The Representation of What We Want to Say

The explanation of the way a person connects their thoughts into speech represents the connectedness of thoughts and their expression. For example, let’s consider the language representation in text. One of the advantages of all the details necessary to connect all possible causal relations provides a facility for connecting sentences in a text. Therefore, a paragraph will frequently consist of a series of concepts that can be related by their implicit causal connections.  


People create decisions based on language and memory levels. For example, one person has a proposal for another:

Q: Do you want to go for a walk with me?
A: I was just walking with my dog in the park.

Clearly, here is the answer given as meaning “no.” To understand this, it is necessary to fill out the concepts underlying both sentences so that the match could be made from an answer to a question. 

Exaggeration Script

The scripts and processes in our lives that have an impact on language usage are essential to understand ways our intelligence works in non-standard situations. One of these scripts is an exaggeration script. People often exaggerate things because they have strong feelings about something, and this phenomenon creates unique patterns in different languages.  

Different types of exaggerating as overstatement or hyperbole impact our memory and help to conclude statements in our brains to build unique associations. This is a direct impact of language on memory. 

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The role of memory in communication is hard to overestimate. Still, memory is not that big of a factor in language practice. What helps a person to understand and eventually speak the language is the intensity of new environment discovery. The brain is starting to put things together on a variety of levels, connecting new sounds and words to a previous experience, even to emotions, and indeed to the context of other words. This is a bit reminiscent of the reminding phenomenon. Such a subconscious process works passively in the background while a person listens and reads. It works better than memorization, which enables anyone to learn a new language.  


About the author: John McGill is an expert in cognitive psychology. He works with developing methods for effective information processing. Today he researches linguistic and behavioral connections at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

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