Krashen's Five Main Hypotheses

Adjunct ESL / AEL Professor at Lone Star College - North Harris, Greenspoint
Jun. 3, 2013

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Krashen's Five Main Hypotheses

  1. Theories and Applications Foundations of Language Acquisition 2010512 EIL Batch 10 - Group 3 Chulalongkorn University – Thailand Krashen's Five Main Hypotheses on Second Language Acquisition
  2. Krashen's Theories of Second Language Acquisition consist of five main hypotheses:  The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis  The Monitor Hypothesis  The Natural Order Hypothesis  The Input Hypothesis  The Affective Filter Hypothesis The design and procedures in the Natural Approach are based on these five hypothesis.
  3. L2 Acquisition Theory Curriculum The Natural Approach Combines Learning Process Spoken Production During Focused on
  4. History Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell developed the "Natural Approach" in the early eighties (Krashen and Terrell, 1983), based on Krashens‟ five theories on second language acquisition. “Language acquisition does not require extensive use of conscious grammatical rules, and does not require tedious drill." "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."
  5. Theory of Language Reflecting the cognitive psychology and humanistic approach prominent in the field of education at that time, Krashens‟ five theories on second language acquisition shifted the culture of the language classroom 180 degrees and brought a sense of community to the students by their sharing of the experience of learning the same language together. (Richards & Rodgers, 2001)
  6. The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis Language acquisition (an unconscious process developed through using language meaningfully) is different from language learning (consciously learning or discovering rules about a language) and language acquisition is the only way competence in a second language can develop. (Richards & Rodgers, 2001)
  7. This acquisition-focused approach sees communicative competence progressing through three stages: (a) aural comprehension, (b) early speech production, and (c) speech activities, all fostering "natural" language acquisition, much as a child would learn his/her native tongue. Following an initial "silent period", comprehension should precede production in speech, as the latter should be allowed to emerge in natural stages or progressions. Cook, V. website
  8. The Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis There are two independent systems of second language performance: The 'acquired system„ and The 'learned system' Acquisition A product of subconscious processes very similar to the process children undergoes when they acquire their first language.  Needs natural communication in the target language.  Informal situations.  Depends on attitude.  Uses grammatical „feel‟.  Learning A product of formal learning It comprises a conscious process which results in conscious knowledge 'about' the language, for example knowledge of grammar rules.  Formal situations.  Depends on aptitude.  Uses grammatical „rules’. Cook, V. website
  9. Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis Strength Weaknesses Language is learned is through natural communication. The idea of „Language does not lead to acquisition‟ is refuted by the experience of anyone who has internalized some of the grammar they have consciously memorized. The definitions of acquisition/subconscious and learning/conscious are not clear enough (Gregg, 1984)
  10. The Monitor Hypothesis Explain the relationship between acquisition and learning. The acquisition is the utterance initiator, while the learning system performs the role of the „monitor‟ or the „editor‟. (
  11. The Monitor Hypothesis Three specific conditions:  Time  Focus on form  Know the rule (Krashen, 1982)
  12. The Monitor Hypothesis Individual variation in monitor use Monitor Over-users are learners who attempt “monitor” all the time. Monitor Under-users are learners who prefer not to use their conscious knowledge. Optimal Monitor users are learners who use the “monitor” appropriately. According to Krashen, the role of the monitor is or should be minor. (Krashen, 1982)
  13. The Monitor Hypothesis Weaknesses “There is no clear evidence to show us „monitor‟ use. We are not able to determine the language that has been produced by the learned system and the acquired system” (Lightbown, & Spada, 1993). “Knowing a language rule does not mean one will be able to use it in communicative interactions” (Brown, 2000). Discourage Speech is halting Focus more on accuracy
  14. The Monitor Hypothesis Applications to teaching Produce „Optimal Monitor Users‟  Easy rules to remember and apply  Communicative competency ( (
  15. The Natural Order Hypothesis By referring to several prior research findings by Brown, 1973; Dulay and Burt , 1974 ; Andersen, 1976; Kessler and Idar, 1977; Fabris, 1978; Christison, 1979; Makino, 1980, Krashen said that grammatical morphemes seem to be acquired in natural order. Some structures are acquired earlier and some later. Natural order is found in both language acquisition by children and adults alike. In case of L2, natural order exists regardless of the acquirers‟ L1. Later findings show that this hypothesis is valid for other language acquisition as well. (Krashen, 1982)
  16. "Average" order of acquisition of grammatical morphemes for English as a second language (children and adults)
  17. Weaknesses of the Natural Order Hypothesis The morphemes themselves do not form any linguistic unity, so there can be no unitary hypothesis to explain why they should follow in sequence. (Mason, 2002) Any language learners‟ behavior may vary. So a morpheme present today may disappear tomorrow. (Mason, 2002) The order may depend to some greater or lesser extent upon the situation in which the learners acquire their L2. The complexity of morphemes depends on the learners‟ L1.
  18. Implication for Teaching  A syllabus should not be based on the Natural Order Hypothesis (Krashen, 1982).  Lots of grammar programs are based on whether the points covered are easy or difficult for the teacher to formulate, rather than on whether they are easy or difficult for the learner to acquire.
  19. An important condition for language to occur is that the acquirer understand (via hearing or reading) input language that contains structure “a bit beyond” his or her current level of competence. For example, If a learner is at a stage „I‟, then maximum acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level „i + 1'. (Krashen, 1985) The Input Hypothesis
  20. The Input hypothesis is only concerned with 'acquisition', not „learning‟. “Human acquires language in only way – by understanding messages, or by receiving comprehensible input” and Learners improve and progress along the „the natural order‟ when they receive L2 comprehensible input”. (Krashen, 1985) Input Hypothesis
  21. 1.) Speaking is a result of acquisition & NOT its cause. 2.) If input is understood, and there is enough of it, the necessary grammar is automatically provided. (Krashen, 1985, p.2) Input Hypothesis
  22.  Krashen suggests that natural communicative input is the key to designing a syllabus. Communicative Language Teaching Approach Cooperative Learning Approach (Scaffolding) Michael Long (1985-1996) takes up where in a sense Krashen left off. He posits in what has come to be called the interaction hypothesis, that comprehensive input is the result of modified interaction. Teaching Application
  23. Vygotsky influenced Krashen‟s second language acquisition theory – application of their theories to second language teaching produces similarities. Krashen's Input Hypothesis VS. Vygotsky's concept of zone of proximal development (ZPD) : Social Constructivism L1: Baby talk (Accommodation Theory) links to Nature & Nurture between Function & Form Related key points to other theorist & L1
  24. Debatable and Criticism Strengths Controversial The more comprehensible input, more L2 proficiency. Teaching methods are dependent on comprehensible input. Since not all of the learners can be at the same level of linguistic competence at the same time, we are unable to define the level of i and i+1. Grammar generalization (making errors)
  25. The Affective Filter Hypothesis “… Learner‟s feeling or attitude as an adjustable filter that freely pass, impedes or block input necessary to acquisition” 3 kinds of affective or attitudinal variables related to SLA 1) Motivation: high 2) Self-confidence: high 3) Anxiety: low (Richards & Rodgers, 2001, p. 183)
  26. The Affective Filter Hypothesis  Learners with a low affective filter: high motivation, self-confidence, a good image, and a low level of anxiety  Are better equipped for success in SLA  Learners with a high affective filter: low self- esteem and a high level of anxiety  Form a mental block  When the filter is high, it blocks language acquisition.  The low affective filter is desirable.
  27. The Strengths of the Affective Filter Hypothesis Teachers try to reduce learners‟ negative feelings. Learners can have higher competence when they receive comprehensible input in low-stress condition.
  28. Strengths of the Affective Filter Hypothesis “A learner who is tense, angry, anxious, or bored will screen out input, making it unavailable for acquisition. Thus, depending on the learner‟s state of mind or disposition, the filter limits what is noticed and what is acquired. The filter will be up or operating when the learner is stressed, self- conscious or unmotivated. It will be down when the learner is relaxed or motivated.” (Lightbown and Spada,1993,p. 28)
  29. Weaknesses of the Affective Filter Hypothesis “Sheltered” classroom environment vs. “Real world” environment The stresses of everyday life and communication are an uncontrollable variables.
  30. Implications for Language Teaching Students activities should be based on meaningful communication rather than on form. Input should be interesting and student needs based. Input should contribute to a relaxed classroom atmosphere.
  31. “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
  32. Theory of language The Communicative view of language is the focus behind the Natural Approach. Particular emphasis is laid on language as a set of messages that can be understood. Language is a vehicle for communicating meanings and messages. Communicative approach The focus on meaning not form Vocabulary is stressed (Lexicon) Formula I + 1
  33. The use of the term ‘Natural Approach’ rather than ‘Method’ highlights the development of a move away from ‘methods teaching’ which implies a particular set of features to be followed, almost as to ‘approach’ which starts from some basic principles which are then developed in the design and development of practice in teaching and learning. It is now widely recognized that the diversity of contexts requires an informed, eclectic approach. (Richards & Rodgers, 2001)
  34. Interrelated Key Points of the Hypotheses Combined model of acquisition and production
  35. Krashen's Theories of Second Language Acquisition consist of five main hypotheses: (The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis) Language acquisition (an unconscious process developed through using language meaningfully) is different from language learning (consciously learning or discovering rules about a language) and language acquisition is the only way competence in a second language occurs.
  36. Grammatical structures are acquired in a predictable order and it does little good to try to learn them in another order. (The natural order hypothesis) People acquire language best from messages that are just slightly beyond their current competence: i+1 (The input hypothesis)
  37. Conscious learning operates only as a monitor or editor that checks or repairs the output of what has been acquired. (The Monitor Hypothesis) The learner's emotional state can act as a filter that impedes or blocks input necessary for language acquisition. (The Affective Filter Hypothesis)
  38. Learner Roles: Learners trying to „acquire‟ language, not learn it in usual way. Slightly more difficult input is given than at level, but by context & extra-linguistic info, can understand. Learner‟s roles change depending on the level and a major aspect is the learner deciding when to speak, what to speak about & what language to use when speaking..
  39. Learner roles: 3 phases: 1) pre-production: no response but participate by e.g. pointing. 2) early-production: either/or questions, single words, short phrases, fill in charts, use fixed conversational patterns e.g. „How are you?‟ 3) speech-emergent: role-play, games, personal info, opinions, group problem solving ( Krashen & Terrell, 1983:76) Should not try and learn a language in the usual sense, but should try and lose themselves in activities involving meaningful communication.
  40. Materials & Activities The primary goal of materials to make classroom activities as meaningful as possible by giving “the extra-linguistic context that helps the acquirer to understand and thereby to acquire” (Krashen & Terrell, 1983:55). Thus REALIA are of paramount needs based, and not textbooks. So pictures, visual aids, schedules, brochures, ads, maps, simple books, games.
  41. Materials & Activities 1. Real life dialogues 2. Pair-work interviews with personal info 3. Personal charts & tables 4. Preference ranking – opinion polls / give opinions 5. Giving personal info about self- social networking 6. Role Play/ Imagination user 7. Problem-solving activities 8. Games & Songs 9. Content activities such as academic subject matter or situational
  42. Krashen's Theories of Second Language Acquisition Summarized:  Acquisition is more important than learning.  In order to acquire, two conditions are necessary. The first is comprehensible (or even better, comprehended) input containing i+1, structures a bit beyond the acquirer's current level, and second, a low or weak affective filter to allow the input 'in'.  Present as much comprehensible input as possible
  43. Krashen's Theories of Second Language Acquisition Summarized:  Things that help comprehension are student needs based – such as pics/realia- exposure to wider lexicon / vocabulary  Focus should be on reading & listening – speaking comes later when ELL‟s ready
  44. Krashen's Theories of Second Language Acquisition Summarized:  „Natural Approach‟ focuses mainly on basic communication skills.  2nd perspective is that “ the purpose of a language course will vary according to the needs of the students and their particular interests” – Krashen & Terrell 1983:65.
  45. Group 3 Presenters: Rob Hatfield ID: 548 77990 20 Samorn Suthipiyapathra ID: 548 78160 20 Noppamart Watcharapimonpun ID: 548 75407 20 Tipparat Eiamworawuttikul ID: 548 75333 20 Urairat Adithepsathit ID: 548 78359 20
  46. Breen,M. & Candlin, C.N. (1980). The Essentials of a communicative curriculum in teaching. Applied Linguistics 1(2): 89-112. Brown, H.D. (1994). Principles of language learning and teaching, (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall Regents, Englewood Cliffs: NJ, USA. Doughty, C. & Long, M. H. (2003). The Handbook of second language acquisition. John & Sons: NJ, USA. Gregg, K. (1984), 'Krashen's Monitor and Occam's Razor', Applied Linguistics, 5 (2), 79-100 Krashen, S., (1982). Principle and practice in second language acquisition. Pergamon Press. Krashen, S., (1985).The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. Harlow Longman Krashen, S., (1985) The Input Hypothesis. London, Longman. Krashen, S., (1987). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Prentice-Hall International. Krashen, S., (1988). Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. Prentice-Hall International. Lightbown, P. and Spada, N. (1998). How Languages are Learned. New York: Oxford University Press. Littlewood, W. (1981). Communicative language teaching. Cambridge: NY, USA. Mitchell,R. & Myles, F. (1998). Second language learning theories. Oxford: NY, USA. Richards,J.C. & Rodgers,T.S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching, (2nded.). Cambridge: NY, USA. Saville-Troike,M. (2006). Introducing second language acquisition. Cambridge:NY, USA. Web Links: Cook, V. website kenro/LAU/ICLangLit/NaturalApproach.htm