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Krashen's Five Stages of Second Language Development

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Danielle Newman

on 12 June 2014

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Transcript of Krashen's Five Stages of Second Language Development

Krashen hypothesizes that a number of "affective variables" play a role in second language acquisition (not learning, in this case). These variables include motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety. For example, when one has low motivation, low self-esteem, and a devastating anxiety level, this can lead to a "raise" in the effective filter and form what is called a "mental block" that prevents comprehensible input from being obtained. The vice versa to each one of these variables, Krashen claims, will lead to the highest success in second language acquisition.
Affective Filter Hypothesis
This hypothesis explains that the acquisition of grammatical morphemes occurs in "natural order". Krashen hypothesizes that grammar for a second language is acquired through natural stages, and that these stages should not be laid out in a syllabus or taught in class. Krashen does not believe in grammatical sequencing where the main goal is language acquisition, as opposed to langage learning.
Natural Order Hypothesis
Krashen's monitor hypothesis simply explains the relationship between acquisition and learning. The monitoring function is the result of learned grammar, and requires three conditions to be met for the monitor to be used correctly: (1) the acquirer/learner must know the rule, (2) the acquirer must be focused on correctness, and (3) they must have time to use the monitor. Krashen recommends using the monitor only at times that do not interfere with communication, such as in writing.
The Monitor Hypothesis
According to the Krashen's acquisition/learning hypothesis, there are two independent ways we develop our language skills: acquisition and learning. During the acquisition stage, the learner is unaware that they are acquiring new knowledge of another language, and they may possibly have acquired written or oral language subconsciously. Some examples may be learning a new language, unknowingly, from the radio, movies, or television.
Learning, on the other hand, is a conscious process in which an individual is aware that new knowledge and language forms are present in the mind. Language learning involves formal instruction and, according to Krashen, is less effective than acquisition. An example of learning would be a teacher teaching a spanish class where the students are learning through recital and practice.
Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis
Learning a second language can be one of the most challenging acquisitions one can do. In doing this, learning a second language requires effort, commitment, and practice. Stephan Krashen, a linguist and theorist, came up with 5 hypotheses of second language acquisition. Krashen graduated from the University of Southern California as an expert in the field of linguistics, specializing in theories of language acquisition and development.
Krashen's Five Stages of Second Language Development
The Input Hypothesis
Krashen claims, in this theory, that we acquire language only when we understand language that contains structure that is "a little beyond" where we stand now. The input hypothesis claims that we acquire language by "going for meaning" first, and then we acquire structure. Krashen also claims that we cannot speak fluently by being taught directly; it emerges over time. Basically, the acquirer will develop accuracy over time as he/she hears and understands more of the input that he/she experiences.


Schütz, Ricardo. "Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition." English Made in Brazil <http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html>. Online. 2007, July 2.
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