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Krashen’s “monitor model”
• The acquisition-learning hypothesis
• The monitor hypothesis
• The natural order hypothesis
• The input hypothesis
• The affective filter hypothesis
Krashen’s “monitor model”
• The acquisition-learning hypothesis (1)
– Acquisition: we acquire L2 knowledge as we are
exposed to samples of the L2 which we
understand with no conscious attention to
language form. It is a subconscious and intuitive
– Learning: we learn the L2 via a conscious
process of study and attention to form and rule
Krashen’s “monitor model”
• The acquisition-learning hypothesis (2)
1. Krashen argues that “acquisition” is a more
important process of constructing the system of
a language than “learning” because fluency in L2
performance is due to what we have acquired,
not what we have learned.
2. Learning cannot turn into acquisition. Many
learners may “know” rules but fail to apply them.
Learners need to do as much acquiring as
possible in order to achieve communicative
Krashen’s “monitor model”
• The monitor hypothesis (1)
– The acquired system acts to initiate the
speaker’s utterances and is responsible for
fluency and intuitive judgments about
correctness, whereas the learned system
acts only as a monitor, making minor
changes and polishing what the acquired
system has produced.
Krashen’s “monitor model”
• Summary
– Krashen’s “monitor model” (i.e., acquisition vs.
learning, monitor, natural order, comprehensible
input, and affective filter) has been very influential
in supporting communicative language teaching
(CLT), which focuses on using language for
meaningful interaction and for accomplishing tasks,
rather than on learning rules.
– Most teachers and researchers see Krashen’s
hypotheses intuitively appealing, but those
hypotheses are hard to be tested by empirical
Information processing
• Cognitive psychologists working in this model
see L2 acquisition as the building up of
knowledge systems that enables the learner to
use the language automatically.
• They do not assume that there is a difference
between acquisition and learning.
• Two important models:
attention-processing (noticing) model and
restructuring Model
Information processing
• Attention-processing (noticing) model:
– It is assumed that there is a limit to the amount of
information a human can pay attention to and learn
at one time. Gradually, through experience and
practice, learners become able to use certain parts
of the language automatically.
– Automatic language performance may originate
from intentional or conscious learning; i.e., noticing
(McLaughlin & Schmidt).
– Everything we come to know about the language
was first “noticed” consciously before we learn it.
Information processing
• Restructuring Model:
– Sometimes things which we know and use
automatically may not be explainable in terms of a
gradual build-up of automaticity through practice.
– They seem rather to be based on the interaction of
knowledge we already have, or on the acquisition of
new knowledge (without extensive practice) which
fits into an existing system and causes it to be
restructured. This can lead to a positive or negative
e.g. “I saw” → “I seed” or “I sawed” –
overapplying the general rule.
• Connectionists argue that what is innate is
simply the ability to learn, not any specifically
linguistic structure.
• They attribute greater importance to the role of
the environment in language learning, and see
the input as the principal source of linguistic
• Eventually, a learner develops stronger mental
‘connections’ between the elements s/he has
learned, and thus one situational or linguistic
element will activate the other(s) in the learner’s
The Interactionist Position
• Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory
– Language development takes place in the social
interactions between individuals.
– L2 learners advance to higher levels of linguistic
knowledge when they collaborate and interact with
speakers of the L2 who are more knowledgeable
than they are (Lantolf).
– A learner is capable to learn in the zone of proximal
development (ZPD) when there is support from
interaction with a more advanced interlocutor.
There is no agreement on a “complete” theory of
second language acquisition yet.
Each theoretical framework has a different focus and
its limitations.
1. Behaviorism: emphasizing stimuli and responses, but
ignoring the mental processes that are involved in
2. Innatism: innate LAD, based on intuitions
3. Information processing and connectionism: involving
controlled laboratory experiments where human
learning is similar to computer processing.
4. Interactionist position: modification of interaction
promotes language acquisition and development.