Cognition can be defined as a process of knowledge acquisition that draws upon environmental information as well as on material registered in our memory. This process, which is not always conscious, involves perception, attention, memory and action. It is therefore not only merely acquisition of knowledge, but also a process of converting all that is apprehended by the learner in accordance with his identity and experiences. This work proposes a theoretical model for cognitive processes related to foreign language production, relying on recent neuroscientific theories about memory, learning and processing of representations of frequent linguistic sequences (chunks), focusing on data concerning German as a foreign language. As a result, theoretical knowledge about a foreign language and the abilities to use it are seen as complementing skills that interact during the learning process, rather than different stages of the same knowledge defined by time of learning and storage in the memory, as suggested by some authors.
memory and language; cognition and language; chunks; foreign language production; knowledge automatization