Krashen’s Input Hypothesis and Comprehensible Input: [i +1]

February 25, 2010 / by Kimberly Cortes

All theorists of language learning agree that second-language input of some form is necessary for learning a new language. It is also necessary to be able to understand and process the input for second language acquisition to take place. This is because second language acquisition (SLA) occurs on a development continuum.


(photo credit: HarcladeAttribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic)

We travel along this continuum by receiving what Stephen Krashen (1982, 1985) termed “comprehensible input.” Comprehensible input is that input which is slightly beyond the current level of competence of the language learner. If i is the language learner’s current level of competence in the foreign language, then i + 1 is the next immediate step along the development continuum. Therefore, if the goal is to assist the language learner progress in their task, it is essential to provide the student/learner with comprehensible input [i +1].

This methodology is incorporated into the Mango course. It is like teaching a child how to dance. Most people would not enroll their infant who cannot yet walk in a ballet class with the hopes that by simply immersing them in the environment they will jump to their feet and perform a saut de chat. The child must first learn to crawl, then to stand, then to walk, and so on. With the Mango program, we start the student off with a conversation in order to orient them to the context of what they are about to learn. We then parse the conversation into smaller sentences. These sentences are then broken down piece by piece into their “elemental components” and slowly built back up to form the original sentence.

If you only learn phrases in chunks, how will you know the individual meaning of each word, much less how to create new sentences and phrases with them? Watch us put this to the test with Mango's methodology. Start learning through a library near you:


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Topics: Language Learning and Culture

Kimberly Cortes

Written by Kimberly Cortes

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