Just Try Harder, Kid. You’ll Get It!

Grant sent this:

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/trying-harder-makes-it-more-difficult-to-learn-some-aspects-of-language-0721

“The results indicate that learning to identify relatively simple parts of language, such as words, is facilitated by effortful learning, whereas learning more complex aspects of language, such as grammatical features, is impeded by effortful learning.”

“The findings support a theory of language acquisition that suggests that some parts of language are learned through procedural memory, while others are learned through declarative memory. Under this theory, declarative memory, which stores knowledge and facts, would be more useful for learning vocabulary and certain rules of grammar. Procedural memory, which guides tasks we perform without conscious awareness of how we learned them, would be more useful for learning subtle rules related to language morphology.”

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3 thoughts on “Just Try Harder, Kid. You’ll Get It!”

  1. Thanks for the link to your discussion on the forum regarding this article, Eric. I read through most of it. I’m taking away from this forum discussion with you, Chris and Robert, that 1) we shouldn’t worry about accents and that 2) adults have the stigma of not being good L2 learners in comparison to little kids most likely because of how adults are often taught the L2 (in a classroom & analyzing the language) versus how little kids are often taught the L2 (not in a classroom & communicating messages).

    I think I get what procedural memory is: like muscle memory of a tennis player, for example. But declarative memory, I’m a bit confused about.

  2. Declarative memory is knowing facts. Conscious knowing. “learning” Playing music and sports, and speaking a language, are procedural memory (though we acquire these in very different ways– you need to play sports to get better; languages are 95% listening/reading and music is about 80% listening and 20% mech practice to get body “wired” to make notes).

    Accent matters (to me) only insofar as it interferes with communication. My Punjabi kids learning Spanish have zero accents problems; my colleague Leanda has Punjabi kids doing French and she has to specifically work on accents cos they “screw it up” enough that you can’t understand them. However she says that now with TPRS they get LESS accent coaching and their accents are better, probably mostly because of the amount of input.

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