Incomprehensible Input

THE INPUT HYPOTHESIS (Krashen’s Hypotheses Series, #5 of 9)

(Previous post in this series: The Natural Order of Acquisition) The next post in this series, The Affective Filter Hypothesis (#6/9) is found here. Focus like a MANIAC I: The Input Hypothesis This is the big one "Comprehensible input is the cause of language acquisition."   This is the most influential of Krashen’s hypotheses—the one that has changed the way world languages are taught. It asserts that we develop language ability when we understand messages in the target language. Languages are not acquired by studying, by traditional practice, or by listening and repeating. Languages are acquired as we hear or [...]

By |2018-10-22T20:36:16+00:00May 10th, 2018|Categories: Administrators, Incomprehensible Input, Krashen, SLA Theory|0 Comments


When I started doing “Special Person” student interviews I had an interviewing model in mind. It was Oprah. Having that model in my head helped me to keep me on track in rambling interviews with kids that didn’t even know what they wanted to share. And Oprah was a good example. She could show that she cared and that she wanted to listen. I would imagine Oprah and use her body language and earnest questioning style with students in my classroom. Having a current model is even more necessary now as I try to explain the technique to teachers from [...]


Ashley has a good question about writing accuracy: Hi, there! I have a question for you! As my students are taking their SLO test (Georgia), I am noticing that their accuracy is quite poor. How do you balance fluency and accuracy in writing in your classes? Thanks so much for the input. It is invaluable! Ashley Hi Ashley, This is a common observation in comprehensible input-based classes. Students can understand so much more than traditional classes that it is natural to assume that their production would be equally as advanced. This is not always the case. I can offer a [...]


This image (Darth Krashen?) works for me on many levels. Comprehensible input is the most powerful force in the linguistic universe. All other approaches are insignificant compared to it. We need to take advantage of C.I. and use it to our full advantage in our classrooms. When I hear about colleagues teaching with limited C.I. (i.e., primarily in English or with incomprehensible immersion) it drives me crazy. It is like a fellow officer mocking, belittling or refusing to use the most effective weapon. A fellow educator not knowing about or using C.I. is unfathomable to me; nearly traitorous to the [...]


This post goes out in support of our beloved colleague Michele Whaley.  Teaching with comprehensible input and occasional translation makes sense because students don’t acquire language from incomprehensible input. Many foreign language instructors are attracted to input-based teaching. They get that students cannot acquire unless they hear the language. So they try to provide experiences in class that are similar to the way children learn by using only the target language (TL) in class. But this attempt at immersion is ineffective because children have thousands of hours to help them learn figure it out. Children are exposed to  incomprehensible input [...]