Krashen‟s First Hypothesis :Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis Adults have two distinctive ways of developingcompetences in second languages. First is acquisition, that is by using language forreal communication, and the second way islearning,"knowing about" language (Krashen &Terrell 1983) Krashen differentiates language learning fromlanguage acquisition, emphasizing that whilelearning is a formalized process, such as thatwhich occurs in a classroom, acquisitionhappens informally, when a person is relaxed.
Language Acquisition Language Acquisition is a subconsciousprocess. It occurs very naturally in a non-threatening environment. The researchstrongly supports the view that both childrenand adults can subconsciously acquirelanguages. Language acquirers are not usually aware ofthe fact that they are acquiring language, butare only aware of the fact that they are usingthe language for communication.
The process is very similar to the processchildren undergo when they acquire their firstlanguage. It requires meaningful interaction in the targetlanguage - natural communication - in whichspeakers are concentrated not in the form oftheir utterances, but in the communicativeact.
Language Learning Language Learning is what occurs at school inan academic setting. It is a conscious process.When we talk about rules and grammar oflanguage, we are usually talking about learning. Language learning comprises of a consciousprocess which results in conscious knowledgeabout the language, for example knowledge ofgrammar rules. It involves error correction and explicitinstruction.
What‟s the difference then?Acquisition Learningimplicit, subconscious explicit, consciousinformal situations formal situationsuses grammatical feel (descriptivegrammar)uses grammatical rules (prescriptivegrammar)depends on attitude depends on aptitudestable order of acquisition simple to complex order oflearning
Comprehensible Input – The KeyVariable Essentially, comprehensible input is what the teachergives the students; in order for the input to beconsidered comprehensible, the student needs tounderstand what is being said and/or given. By making input comprehensible or understandableto students teachers use a maximum amount of thetarget language without feeling they have to revert tothe mother tongue.
Krashen‟s Acquisition-Learning hypothesis revolvesaround the concept of “comprehensible input,” a termwhich essentially means “messages that can beunderstood.” Comprehensible input is best received when the learneris hearing something that he or she wants or needs toknow. For example, when people are immersed in a culture inwhich they do not know the language, they have anintense need and desire to speak that language. Such students are not interested in grammar lessonsfrom a book but, instead, want to hear “comprehensibleinput” about that culture that teaches them what theyneed to know to survive.
The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis acknowledgesthat students learn faster as they are given morecomprehensible input. Inversely, a lack of comprehensible input delayslanguage acquisition. Krashen‟s acquisition-learning theory has much incommon with both the communicative approach tolanguage study and Noam Chomsky‟s theory ofgenerative grammar. The idea of “comprehensible input” is simply anotherway of saying that students learn languages bestwhen they are learning about things that interestthem.
Application In Teaching According to this theory, the optimal way alanguage is learned is through naturalcommunication. As a second language teacher, the ideal is tocreate a situation wherein language is used in orderto fulfil authentic purposes. This is turn, will help students to „acquire‟ thelanguage instead of just „learning‟ it.