This paper investigates the limited attainment of adult compared to child language acquisition in terms of learned attention to morphological cues. It replicates Ellis and Sagarra in demonstrating short-term learned attention in the acquisition of temporal reference in Latin, and it extends the investigation using eye-tracking indicators to determine the extent to which these biases are overt or covert. English native speakers learned adverbial and morphological cues to temporal reference in a small set of Latin phrases under experimental conditions. Comprehension and production data demonstrated that early experience with adverbial cues enhanced subsequent use of this cue dimension and blocked the acquisition of verbal tense morphology. Effects of early experience of verbal morphology were less pronounced. Eye-tracking measures showed that early experience of particular cue dimensions affected what participants overtly focused upon during subsequent language processing and how this overt study resulted in turn in covert attentional biases in comprehension and in productive knowledge.