By the way, the language learning model described above is basically the “comprehension hypothesis” (or “input hypothesis”) by professor Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California) and is part of his “natural approach” to language learning.
The model describes the process of a child learning its first (native) language. The child listens to its parents and other people. The child’s brain collects sentences and gets better and better at producing its own sentences. By the age of 5, the child can already speak quite fluently.
But the same model works for learning a foreign language. In fact, we think it is the only way to learn a language well.
What the model means for language learners
Here’s what’s important in the model from the point of view of foreign language learning:
- The brain produces sentences based on the sentences it has seen or heard (input). So the way to improve is to feed your brain with a lot of input — correct and understandable sentences (written or spoken). Before you can start speaking and writing in a foreign language, your brain must get enough correct sentences in that language.
- Output (speaking and writing) is less important. It is not the way to improve your language skills. In fact, you should remember that you can damage your English through early and careless output.
- You don’t need grammar rules. You learned your first language without studying tenses or prepositions. You can learn a foreign language in that way, too.
Antimoon: How to learn English effectively
Dr. Krashen has published more than 350 papers and books, contributing to the fields of second language acquisition, bilingual education, and reading. He is credited with introducing various influential concepts and terms in the study of second language acquisition, including the acquisition-learning hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the affective filter, and the natural order hypothesis. Most recently, Krashen promotes the use of free voluntary reading during second language acquisition, which he says "is the most powerful tool we have in language education, first and second."
Stephen Krashen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill." Stephen Krashen
"Acquisition requires meaningful interaction in the target language - natural communication - in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding." Stephen Krashen
"The best methods are therefore those that supply 'comprehensible input' in low anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to produce when they are 'ready', recognizing that improvement comes from supplying communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting production." Stephen Krashen
Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition (Assimilação Natural - o Construtivismo no Ensino de Línguas)
The input hypothesis answers the question of how a language acquirer develops comptency over time. It states that a language acquirer who is at "level i" must receive comprehensible input that is at "level i+1." "We acquire, in other words, only when we understand language that contains structure that is 'a little beyond' where we are now." This understanding is possible due to using the context of the language we are hearing or reading and our knowledge of the world.
LANGUAGE LEARNING article--A Summary of Stephen Krashen's "Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition"
And on video:
StephenKrashenscomprehensibleinput.flv - YouTube
Stephen Krashen's Comprehensible Input — PISD TV — Plano Independent School District