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An overview of SLA theories




¯efining Language Teaching Methodology

(Rodgers 2001, p.1)
xTheories of language and learning (SLA)

xInstructional design features

xActual teaching/learning practices

observed in learning environments

ë omprehensible Input´
‡ Krashen (1994) claimed that all that is
needed for second language acquisition is
ëcomprehensible input´ (i.e. language that is
heard/read and understood by the learner).

‡ omprehensible input has to be just a little

beyond the learner¶s current language level:
i (input) + 1


‡ What language macroskills does the

concept of ëcomprehensible input´

 ! "  

‡ $è !c!!% - the subconscious process
used by children in L1 development.
Acquisition occurs when the language
acquisition device (LA¯) encounters and
understands language in use.

‡ %!%& - a conscious process which

results in a separate system of simple
grammar rules or knowledge about the L2.
Learning occurs when the focus is on form
not on meaning. (Krashen 1985)

$ '  
‡ Krashen claims that learning cannot become
acquisition (i.e. they remain separate and
independent processes). The Non-interface
‡ Other researchers claim that learnt
knowledge can become acquisition
(unconscious, automatic knowledge) through
practice. (Gass & Selinker 2001, Gregg 1994)


‡ ¯o you think that language that you

have consciously learned can become
µacquired¶ over time?

!  "  
‡ Long (1996) noted that language learners need to interact and
     with other speakers to develop their
language skills, for example:

a) $  :

NNS: what are they ± what do they do your picture?
NS:     ""  ?

b) $   
NS: there¶s there¶s just a couple more things
NNS: "($ (
(Mackey and Philp, 1998)

jirst Trial: NS is describing the location on a board:
‡ Jane: All right now, above the sun place the squirrel. He¶s right on top of the
‡ Hiroshi: What is..the word?...
‡ Jane: ¯o you know what the sun is?
‡ Hiroshi: Yeah, of course. Wh-what¶s the
‡ Jane: Squirrel. ¯o you know what a squirrel is?
‡ Hiroshi: No.
‡ Jane: OK. You¶ve seen them running around on campus. They¶re little furry
animals. They¶re short and brown and they eat nuts like crazy.

Second trial: NNS describing location on board:

‡ Hiroshi: The second thing will be « put here. This place is « small animal
which eat nuts.
‡ Jane: Oh, squirrel?
‡ Hiroshi: Yeah (laughter) (Gass & Varonis 1994:296)

omprehensible or ëpushed´ output encourages
‡ to stretch their production to make
themselves understood
‡ to link meaning and form
ëInput alone is not sufficient for acquisition,
because when one hears language one can often
interpret the meaning without the use of
syntax«This is not the case with language
production or output, because one is forced to put
the words into some order.´ Gass 2001:277


output input


j   +

j "  

, % #   
- . /
"  .   
0 1   -     
-c,22 /


‡ urrent research now emphasises the

importance of language interaction and
the need for learners  
  as well as comprehend
second language input.


‡ What do you think about the input-

interaction - output debate?
‡ How can you promote language
learning processes in your classroom?

‡ Gregg, K. (1994) Krashen¶s Theory, Acquisition Theory, and Theory. in
Ronald M. Barasch, . Vaughan James (Eds) Æ   



    Boston, Heinle & Heinle
‡ Krashen, S. (1992).        .
London, Longman.
‡ Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second
language acquisition. In W. Ritchie & T. Bhatia (Eds.), 
       (pp. 413-468). San ¯iego, A:
‡ Swain, M. (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: Mediating
acquisition through collaborative dialogue. In J. Lantolf (Ed.),
 . Oxford: Oxford
University Press.
‡ Swain, M. 2005. The Output Hypothesis: Theory and Research. In E.
Hinkel (Ed)   

 Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.