The question of to what extent a new language is processed through the preexisting language system has been extensively explored with the help of neuroimaging techniques. Initial studies reported that second language processing did not rely on the same areas as the native language (divergence hypothesis) whereas recent studies suggest that there is a common localisation for two or more language systems (convergence hypothesis). The main focus of the present literature review is to provide an overview of the most relevant fMRI results that have so far been achieved in the exploration of the neural basis of grammatical and lexico-semantic processing in bilingual people. Differences in age of acquisition (AoA), level of proficiency, or frequency of use can be important contextual variables that influence the neurocognitive functioning during second language acquisition. Indeed, these variables are important to take into consideration when analysing the different patterns of brain activations reported during the process of learning a second language
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