MIT Study Reveals Secret to Language Learning – Don’t Try Too Hard

Proof that language learners should let it flow

In a new study, a team of neuroscientists and psychologists led by Amy Finn, a postdoc at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, has found evidence for an important factor that contributes to adults’ language difficulties: When learning certain elements of language, adults’ more highly developed cognitive skills actually get in the way. The researchers discovered that the harder adults tried to learn an artificial language, the worse they were at deciphering the language’s morphology — the structure and deployment of linguistic units such as root words, suffixes, and prefixes.


  1. Yes! I teach children and adults French using the Accelerative Integrate Method.

    I teach using an inductive vs. a deductive method. Students learn what sounds right and they learn by producing oral language. This is done before students read and write, using the same method as is used to learn the maternal language.

    When I compare my adult learners and the children, the children learn to speak quicker even though they have a relatively small language base. Adults have a larger language base because of experience and schooling but they do not learn as quickly because they stop to analyse the language. They want to demonstrate how much they know by explaining it to me when all I want is for them to use the language, without explanation. My biggest challenge teaching adults is to get them to stop analyzing what they are doing!

    Adult language teachers as well want to stop and explain everything, probably because that is how they learned. this is the deductive method. It is rarely effective.

    AIM lets it flow.

  2. Please do not teach Grammar to ESL Children or Children. First learn to Read, Listen, Speak and if they want to learn grammar do it last.
    Native Speakers of English in general only remember about 20% of grammar.
    When native speakers start to Learn English as a child, they learn words and that word in phases. I have taught English in Asia and South America and I have never taught Grammar. I teach people to speak excellent English and totally understand what they are saying. Then I teach some grammar near the end to explain the differences tenses and so forth. People want to learn to speak and understand excellent English , not perfect Grammar which only slows down the learning and they still cannot speak good english. Joseph

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