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Evidence for the Input Hypothesis(chiefly Krashen 1985)


people speak to children acquiring their first language in special ways

people speak to L2 learners in special ways
L2 learners often go through an initial Silent Period
the comparative success of younger and older learners reflects
provision of comprehensible input
the more comprehensible input the greater the L2 proficiency
lack of comprehensible input delays language acquisition
teaching methods work according to the extent that they use
comprehensible input
immersion teaching is successful because it provides comprehensible
bilingual programs succeed to the extent they provide
comprehensible input

Academic reactions to Krashen

Ellis (1990, p.57): 'the lucidity, simplicity, and
explanatory power of Krashen's theory'.
Lightbown (1984, p.246): a combination of 'a linguistic
theory (through its "natural order" hypothesis), social
psychological theory (through its "affective filter"
hypothesis), psychological learning theory (through its
acquisition-learning hypothesis), discourse analysis
and sociolinguistic theory (through both the
comprehensible input hypothesis and the "monitor"
Mitchell & Myles (1998, p.126): 'The concepts of
'understanding' and 'noticing a gap' are not clearly
operationalised, or consistently proposed; it is not
clear how the learner's present state of knowledge ('i')
is to be characterised, or indeed whether the 'i+1'
formulation is intended to apply to all aspects of
language, from lexis to phonology and syntax.'
Gregg (1984, p.94): 'each of Krashen's hypotheses is
marked by serious flaws: undefinable or ill-defined
terms, unmotivated constructs, lack of empirical

content and thus of falsifiability, lack of explanatory

McLaughlin (1987, p.56): 'Krashen's theory fails at
every juncture ... Krashen has not defined his terms
with enough precision, the empirical basis of the
theory is weak, and the theory is not clear in its
Ellis (1985, p.266): the Monitor Model 'poses serious
theoretical problems regarding the validity of the
'acquisition-learning' distinction, the operation of
Monitoring, and the explanation of variability in
language-learner language'
The Natural Approach (Krashen & Terrell, 1983;
Terrell et al, 1997)
General premises
1. The goal is 'the ability to communicate with native
speakers of the target language'
2. Comprehension precedes production the Silent
3. Production 'emerges'
4. Acquisition activities are central, though some
Monitoring may be useful for some people
5. Lower the Affective Filter: they won't learn if their
affective barrier is too high
(6. Speech emerges in stages. Terrell et al 1997)
(7. Group work encourages speech. Terrell et al 1997)
(8. Speech emergence is characterized by grammatical
errors. Terrell et al 1997)

Techniques (all acquisition activities)

a) Affective-Humanistic activities
dialogues short and useful - 'open' dialogues
interviews pairwork on personal information
personal charts and tables
preference ranking opinion polls on favourite
activities etc
revealing information about yourself e.g. what I
had for breakfast
activating the imagination e.g. give Napoleon
advice about his Russian campaign
b) Problem-solving activities
task and series e.g. components of an activity
such as washing the car
charts, graphs, maps e.g. busfares, finding the
developing speech for particular occasions e.g.
What do you say if
c) Games, e.g. What is strange about a bird
d) Content activities, e.g. academic subject matter
such as maths


taken from KrashenBurn (see end)
Alice Callaghan (Episcopal priest), ...a parasite on the
backs of poor Latino children.
Isaac Cubillos, editor of Latino Beat ...more than 2.5million kids statewide have not made it as a result of
bilingual education. What an atrocious situation, and
Krashen helped create this."
Isaac Cubillos, editor of Latino Beat, I discovered that
Dr. Krashen has done no research. It is purely a
theory. There is no test data, there are no schools
where it's been proved, and it's based on thin air.
Christine Rossell "Krashen denied having ever criticized
that study. He will say anything to win over a room."
David Tokofsky, "This is how every administrator in the
state got promoted from assistant principal to
principal, or from teacher to bilingual coordinator, or
from regional supe to district supe: By chanting the
Mantra of 'Rama, Rama, Krashen, Krashen, Rama,
one stunned non-educator in the audience: "An
impromptu receiving line formed of teachers lining up
for a chance to touch their guru, their Pied Piper. It
was eery. It was the Church of Krashen."
Krashen's own website:
Barasch, R.M. & Vaughan-James, C. (eds)
(1994), Beyond the Monitor Model, Heinle & Heinle
Gregg, K. (1984), 'Krashen's Monitor and Occam's
Razor', Applied Linguistics, 5 (2), 79-100
Krashen, S. (1979), 'The Monitor Model for second
language acquisition,' in R. Gingras (ed.) Second

Language Acquisition and Foreign Language Teaching,

Krashen, S. (1981), Second Language Acquisition and
Second Language Learning,Pergamon
Krashen, S. (1982), Principles and Practice in Second
Language Acquisition, Pergamon
Krashen, S. (1985), The Input Hypothesis: Issues and
Implications, Longman
Krashen, S. (1985), Language Acquisition and
Language Education, Alemany Press
Krashen, S. (1993), The Power of Reading, Libraries
Unlimited Inc, Englewood Colorado
Krashen, S. & Biber, D. (1988), On Course: Bilingual
Educations Success in Califormia, California
Association for Bilingual Education, Sacramento
Krashen, S. & Terrell, T.D. (1983), The Natural
Approach, Pergamon
McLaughlin, B. (1987), Theories of Second-Language
Learning, Edward Arnold, London
Notes on L1 and L2 learning
Notes on Age in SLA
Acquisition versus Learning Exercise

Ask your partner

1. to describe an L2 (or L1) rule they learnt consciously
2. to say how they used it to start with
3. to say the extent to which they use it now
4. to evaluate how useful they found it
5. to say what they can do in an L2 they did not learn
but acquired
6 to remember how they acquired this
7. to say how important they found it
Do you agree with acquisition versus learning?
Rate these teaching activities on a scale from 1-10 as
involving comprehensible input:

- repetition of sentences in a dialogue

- reading a story aloud followed by questions
- students exchanging their views about their favourite
- students listening to grammatical explanation
- studying a poem together
- learning lists of vocabulary with their translation
- listening to how an activity should be done and then
carrying it out
- acting out going by train
An Italian being interviewed by an English
speaker (ESF project) (slightly tidied)
Is Andrea using acquired or learnt knowledge? How
can you tell?
I: Had you seen this film before?
Andrea: No never.
I: Have you seen other Charlie Chaplin?
Andrea: Ya [long pause] mm [long pause] its okay.
I: I think so.
Andrea: [laughs] after - Charlie Chaplin er take the
coon [/?] cuneos [=T wedge] the piece of wood er.
I: mhm.
Andrea: er under the boat. And the boat go into the
sea I don't know.
I: Mhm mhm.
Andrea: Er he has finished - the < > [laughs] the
I: Ya.
Andrea: Your your job. Ya?
I: mhm.
Andrea: He working only for I don't know for ten
minutes [laughs] and er and he go go outside er this
er er cantieres [=T shipyard] ?
I: outside the?
Andrea: cantieres [=T shipyard].
I: canteen?
Andrea: building construction.

I: mhm.
Andrea: of the the boat.
I: outside the docks you mean.
Andrea: the docks.