Check Your Understanding of Krashen’s Hypotheses:

(See all 9 posts in this series, plus a satirical piece on Krashen’s work here)


 Check Your Understanding

of Krashen’s Hypotheses


1.  _________________________ is the unconscious absorbing of language when exposed to comprehended messages.

2.  _________________________ is getting conscious, focused knowledge of certain elements of a language through grammatical explanations, drills and studying.

3.  _________________________ results in knowing about the language.

4.  _________________________ results in being able to understand and use the language spontaneously and unconsciously.

5.  The ________________________ hypothesis suggests that the grammatical elements of a language are acquired in a predictable sequence that cannot be altered by focusing on certain features.

6.  The ________________________ hypothesis is the idea that emotional factors such as anxiety, stress, social acceptance and self-confidence can have a significant impact on learning.

7.  The ________________________ hypothesis is a refinement of the Input Hypothesis. It asserts grammar and vocabulary are the result of language acquisition, not the cause.

8.  The ________________________ hypothesis is the idea that reading in the target language is the fastest, best and easiest way to improve one’s reading ability, writing ability, vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

9.  The ________________________ hypothesis states that language is acquired by comprehensible input rather than by conscious learning.

10.  The ___________________   __________ hypothesis declares that if the input in interesting enough, learners will acquire the language regardless of whether they are focused on improving or not.

11.  The _______________________ hypothesis says that knowing grammar can help students to correct their speech and writing under certain conditions.

12.  The _______________________ hypothesis states that with enough comprehensible input students will automatically get the vocabulary and grammar they are ready to acquire.

Word Bank

(Can be used more than once)


Affective Filter                                

Compelling Input              





Natural Order





Discussion Questions

• What do the letters in the mnemonic acronym MANIAC stand for?


• What would world language teaching be different if instructors were using all or most of Krashen’s hypotheses to guide their instruction?


• Which traditional instruction activities could be altered to be more communication-based and in line with Krashen’s hypotheses?


• Which traditional activities might be omitted altogether?


• What types of C.I.-based activities could take their place?


• Why do you think textbook publishers and teachers have been slow to adopt these ideas about second language acquisition (SLA) in spite of over 40 years of research indicating their validity?


Which traditional methods might arguably be supported by recent SLA research?


The previous posts in this series are found here.


NOTE: This is a series of posts on Stephen Krashen’s 6 main hypotheses of language acquisition, presented in a simple form. I teach these ideas in this same way to my high school students every year. We even have quizzes on each of the hypotheses. It helps students to know something about linguistics so that they understand WHY certain methods are being used in class—that the teacher is not just making up random activities and that what is being done in the classroom has a basis in theory, research, and successful practice. I also want to prepare them to be able to identify best practices in language courses they may take later.
We use the acronym MANIAC to remember the 6 hypotheses and because a teacher may need to focus like a maniac in order not to be swayed by the inertia and tradition in education. Don’t fret about the maniac moniker being negative. It is a good thing—you’ll get a maniacal amount of energy from your engaged and acquiring students once you learn how to put these hypotheses into action in your classroom.