Research-backed insights for language learning

Language Learning Success = (Invested Time x Motivation) / Inhibition

The famous Hungarian polyglot Kató Lamb came up with a useful formula to evaluate your language acquisition success.

Result = (Invested Time x Motivation) / Inhibition

I think this is a great formula. Throughout the years I’ve always gone back to this formula because I think it’s a very simple way to understand your results when you study a language.

Let’s dig into it a bit.

Invested Time (numerator) – This is how much time you are putting into learning the language. But remember, not all time spent studying is equal. You want this time to be active and deliberately spent instead of passively studying. Examples of deliberate studies include: having conversations with native speakers, attentively listening to a news report or reading a novel in your target language.

Motivation (numerator) – This factor is more subjective and varies from person to person but is very important for you to tease out and maximize. Kató Lamb used the following questions to measure her motivation for each language she learned:

  • How much am I interested in it?
  • What do I want with it?
  • What does it mean for me?

Inhibition (denominator) – This would be the fear of starting to speak, of being clumsy, of being laughed at, etc. You want to reduce your inhibitions as much as possible. This is usually the hardest factor to tweak though. Just remember, no one actually cares if you make a mistake when you’re learning a foreign language and it’s not as embarrassing to others as it is in your head. Natives appreciate your effort to speak their language and your fellow classmates know your struggle. 

At Parley Blue, we know how important maximizing motivation and reducing inhibitions is so we built our program with these factors in mind. Our customized lessons are intrinsically motivating because we teach about topics the student is interested in. And we reduce your inhibitions by having one-on-one calls with coaches instead of using a traditional classroom setting  

When you’re comfortable, we also offer a weekly stretch opportunity for students to participate in an intercambio and speak in front of other students.

If you’re ready to take action to achieve your language learning goals, please reach out to us. We’d love to have you as a part of our global community.



I Want to Learn: