Deductive reasoning applies a general rule to particular instances while inductive reasoning involves inference from the particular to the general. Language learning is most clearly deductive when a teacher gives an explicit statement of the rule, which the students then apply to examples. The term ‘inductive’ most obviously applies when a child learns its first language by inducing the rules from exposure to the language in use. A deductive approach is most closely associated with the grammar-translation method of teaching languages, while an inductive approach is considered characteristic of audio-lingualism, where meaning and grammar were not explicitly explained but induced from carefully graded exposure to and practice with examples in situations and substitution tables.

Jacqueline Gollin

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