- Comprehension precedes production (Listening and Reading).
2. Production is allowed to emerge in stages (response with nonverbal communication, single words, combination of two or three words, phrases, sentences, discourse).
3. Syllabus consists of communicative goals (classroom activity is organized by topic).
4. Activities done in the classroom aimed at acquisition must foster a lowering of the affective filter of the students.
Comprehension precedes production
The implications of this principle are that:
- The instructor always uses the target language.
- The focus of communication will be on a topic of interest for the student.
- The instructor will strive all times to help the student understand.
The Theoretical model: five hypotheses
1. The Acquisition –Learning Hypothesis
This hypothesis claims that adults have two distinct ways of developing competence in second languages.
• Acquisition (language acquisition is the natural way to develop linguistic ability, and is a subconscious process).
• Learning (knowing about language, or formal knowledge, and is a conscious process).
How acquisition takes place?
According to research in second language acquisition, it is thought that “acquisition” can take place only when people “understand” messages in the target language.
“Incomprehensible input” (e.g. listening to unknown language on the radio) does not seem to help language acquisition.
The acquisition-Learning Distinction
• Similar to child first Formal knowledge of
language acquisition language
• Picking up a language Knowing about language
• Implicit knowledge Explicit knowledge
• Formal teaching does not Formal teaching helps
2. The Natural Order Hypothesis
This hypothesis states that grammatical structures are acquired (not necessarily learned) in a predictable order. Certain structure will tend to be acquired early, while others will tend to be acquired late
3. The Monitor Hypothesis
This hypothesis states that conscious learning has an extremely limited function in adult second language performance: it can be used as a Monitor, or an editor.
Three requirements to use the Monitor successfully
a. The performer has to have enough time
- The performer has to be thinking about correctness, or be focused on form.
- The performer has to know the rule.
4. The Input Hypothesis
This hypothesis states simply that we acquire (not learn) language by understanding input that is a little beyond our current level of (acquired) competence.
This input hypothesis states that in order for acquirer to progress to the next stages in the acquisition of the target language, they need to understand input language which is slightly beyond the current level (i + 1).
How can we understand language that contains structures that we have not yet acquired?
The answer is through context and extra-linguistic information. Care takes provide this context for young children by restricting their talk to the “here and now”.
Good second language teachers do this by adding visual aids, by using extra-linguistic, and paralinguistic context.
Caretaker Speech (mother, father, and others)
To help acquirers acquire second language input faster, three interesting properties are needed
- Caretakers modify (slowing down, repeating, restating, changing WH – questions to yes/no questions) their language in order to communicate, not in order to teach language
- Caretaker speech is structurally simpler than the language adults use with each other.
- Caretaker speech is about the here and now.
The Input Hypothesis: Major Points
- Relates to acquisition, not to learning
- We acquire by understanding language a bit beyond our current level of competence. This is done with the help of context.
- Spoken fluency emerges gradually and is not taught directly.
- When caretakers talk to acquirers so that the acquirers understand the message, input automatically contains “i+1”, the grammatical structures the acquirer is “ready” to acquire.
5. The Affective Filter Hypothesis
This hypothesis states that attitudinal variables relating to success second language acquisition: Performers with optimal attitudes have a lower affective filter.
A low filter means that the performer is more “open” to the input , and that the input strikes “deeper” (Dulay and Burt)
Attitudinal variables have two effects
- Learners who are motivated and who have positive self-image will seek and obtain more input
- The one with a lower filter will acquire input more.