Archive for January, 2010

Language Learning Patterns

The study conductor(s)top
Public Studies
The participant(s)top
530 speakers of French, Spanish, and English.
Date study concludedtop
January 21, 2010
Funded bytop
Public Studies (

To single out language learning characteristics that could lead to improvements in conlang design and teaching methods by identifying key difficulties in language learning.


The study showed that the largest issues with language learning were complexities surrounding verb tense and prepositional usage. Participants had trouble correctly identifying verb tenses when the verb itself was modified, but when verb tense was modified by separated words (adverbs in most cases) the participants were more likely to correctly identify the tense. Prepositions proved to be a problem in complex sentences. Participant responses varied when identifying what the preposition applied to, this is likely because the control language did not have a consistent means of removing prepositional ambiguity (much like many conlangs).

Methods usedtop

A theoretical language with limited vocabulary was created and participants were provided with a simple standardized tutorial. Once the participants covered the basics of the language, they were asked to correctly identify the meanings of various sentences written in the control language.

Task Correct Incorrect Varied
Identify verb tenses (inflection) 110 319 101
Identify verb tenses (adverbal) 488 23 19
Identify adjectives 511 10 9
Identify adverbs 495 24 11
Differentiate subject and object 341 72 117
Identify vocabulary 441 32 57
Identify and define prepositional usage 71 44 415

Varied indicates that the participants in this column did not consistently get the task correct or incorrect.

  • [-] This study was limited to French, Spanish, and English speakers.
  • [-] This study did not measure vocabulary learning patterns.
External Sourcestop
Public Studies Original
APA Citation(s)top
Language Learning Patterns. (2010).
   Retrieved January 21, 2018, from Public Studies Web site:
MLA Citation(s)top
“Language Learning Patterns”
   Public Studies. 21 January 2010.
   January 21, 2018. <>.