Swain vs.


Name and surname(s): Monica Claudia Macchiavello Login: ECFPMTFL781081 Group:30 Date:10/30/2011

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Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… 2 SLA Main Theories…………………………………………………………………. Swain………………………………………………………………………………. IV.3 b. II.…………… 5 III.4 d. 2 a.……3 c.. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………… 6 References…………………………………………………………………………… 7 2 . Krashen………………………………………………………………………. Other Hypothesis………………………………………………….SWAIN VS KRASHEN – OUTPUT VS COMPREHENSIVE INPUT THEORIES INDEX I. Overview………………………………………………………………………….

or is it a matter of choosing one over the other? The essay will compare and contrast both theories. several theories have appeared incorporating current or newer paradigms of language teaching. Even narrowing the search only to scholarly work produces hundreds of entries. Just to mention some theories: behaviorism. among others. the interaction hypothesis. all have at some point proven to be the leading SLA theoretical framework. only to be completely opposed by the next one. or can both theories coexist in the EFL classroom? Predominant trends have called SLA still inconclusive as to what the perfect theory might be. the acculturation model. the number of pages citing numerous theories can be overwhelming. Therefore it might be more probable that a combination of several theories could be more appropriate as there actually are several aspects in which both before mentioned theories in practice tend to share common ground. the comprehension hypothesis. and very similar to this theory was the Accommodation Theory by Giles and Byrne. Can language learning apply both theories at the same time. 3 . Linguistic Models and cognitive Models. which determine motivation as the primary determinant of L2 competence.SWAIN VS KRASHEN – OUTPUT VS COMPREHENSIVE INPUT THEORIES Introduction Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories strive to define and/or quantify the processes and methods through which individuals acquire a new language. the input and output theories. Sociolinguistic Models such as Schumann’s Acculturation model contend that learners will succeed in SLA only to the extent they acculturate into the native speaker group. When searching for Second Language Acquisition models over the internet. the universal grammar theory. sociocultural theory and of course. and analyze other authors’ proposal regarding these different points of view of language learning to try to come up with a conclusion about the proposed question: Is it a matter of output versus input. Through the years. SLA Main Theories SLA can be divided into three model categories: Sociolinguistic Models. This essay contemplates two of such theories that seem at first glance complete opposites with irreconcilable positions: Krashen’s Input Hypothesis and Swain’s Comprehensible Output Hypothesis. until a yet new research or theory came along to dispute the trend or at least throw some doubt on its findings.

not in the form. a variational and a developmental one.‖ (Krashen.in which the learner is concentrated in the communicative act. In referring to language learning. To further explore this generalization. 1984. The Variable-Competence model is based on two distinctions: one of which refers to the process of language use and the product. but considering now the Input and output theories presented as the basis of the analysis in a certain degree now most of the sociocultural theories relate to the Swain side. p 61). such as Chomsky can relate easily to the Krashen viewpoint in general aspects. Krashen The input theory of Stephen Krashen is. The Multidimensional Model comprised of two main axes. with a hierarchically ordered process. According to current theory. All aforementioned theories or models relate in some extent to each other. The process of language use is to be understood in terms of the distinction between linguistic knowledge and the ability to use this knowledge. He states the first as a subconscious process -like that of a child learning L1. each viewpoint is examined below. we acquire language in only one way: when we understand messages in that language. instead of viewing it as a standalone sentence. which states: ―Second-language acquisition theory provides a very clear explanation as to why immersion works. but interrelated systems: macro behavioral and neurofunctional: one having to do with the language factor and the other one concentrating on the anatomy of the brain. The Universal Hypothesis (UG) by Chomsky explains how the language’s properties of the target language and the learner’s first language influence L2 learning. And finally the neurofunctional theory which looks at SLA processes through two different. it is important to stress that he does make a clear distinction between acquisition and learning. as stated before an example of a cognitive model. Among the Cognitive models there is the Monitor Model by Krashen which encloses the Input Hypothesis. And within the same category appears Swain’s Output Thesis.Linguistic Models have as their main proposals the Discourse Theory by Hatch. (Funiber. and his information processing ability on the other. 2011). and learning as a conscious process in which the student actively gets to know 4 . and the more academic models. which states that all the relevant text around a message should be considered to understand it clearly and universally. the Information Processing Model which proposes that the learner’s capacity to process information is limited on one hand by the nature of the task. when we receive comprehensible input.

previously mentioned. (4) the input hypothesis and the affective – filter hypothesis. Krashen does state Output has a contribution to make to language acquisition. and as stated by Krashen. 1982: 21). not learning. (Krashen. but on acquisitiontype tasks. His input hypothesis is based on the fact that the acquisition is best when the input provided has the following characteristics: it is comprehensible. (3) the natural order hypothesis. but it is indirect. in which the language is modified as to promote comprehension. Krashen considered the Input hypothesis the most important one in relation to the topic. This hypothesis then is a strong supporter of giving language students an initial "silent period" where they are building up acquired competence before they begin to produce a language. as the one that provides the answer to the question ―how does one acquire a language?‖ According to this hypothesis. 1982: 128).elements such as grammar rules and other linguistic elements. As further proof of the efficiency of this hypothesis. the examples provided are of teacher talk from teacher to student. or even native speakers to foreigners (foreign talk). the acquirers have to receive comprehensible input slightly above their ability to challenge their competence level. ―The input hypothesis makes the following claim: a necessary (but not sufficient) condition to move from stage i + 1 is that the acquirer understand input that contains i+ 1. and therefore the focus should not be stressed on more structured grammar or learning activities. Actual speaking on the part of the language acquirer will thus affect the quantity of input people direct at him. all of which provide insight to the acquisition/learning theory. 5 . adding also the language level should be a little beyond the student’s competence to be challenging enough. (2) the monitor hypothesis. where understand means that the acquirer is focused on the meaning and not the form of the message‖ (Krashen. not grammatically sequenced and provided in sufficient quantity. acquisition. Krashen stresses the fact that acquisition is more important than learning. or caretaker to child. Krashen provided five hypotheses for second language learning: (1) the acquisition learning hypothesis. He stresses the fact that the relevant factor here is acquisition. which brings us back to the input hypothesis again. interesting or relevant to the acquirer. Krashen’s scaffolding theory is referred to as i+1.

Her Output Hypothesis was based on the idea that ―understanding language and producing language are different skills. stating it was a simplified explanation of a very complex process. Metalinguistic function: considers that second language students reflect about the language they learn and therefore their output enables them to appropriate their own linguistic knowledge. and that the second can only be developed by pushing the learner to produce output—actually to say and write things‖ (as cited in Johnson. and in the cases where it is necessary. because the learners consciously concentrate in the problems they might encounter while doing so. and that production may encourage learners to move from semantic (top-down) to syntactic (bottom-up) processing. 95). Hypothesis-testing function: When learners say something there is always a hypothesis underlying e. 1985). Noticing function: Learners encounter gaps between what they want to say and what they are able to say and by doing so. The output hypothesis claims that the act of producing language in any form (written or orally) becomes part of the learning process. or produce a new one. McLaughlin (1987) is one of the strongest contenders who stated that without dismissing the importance of comprehensible input. it cannot be considered enough for a complete learning process. forcing learners to pay attention to the means of expression‖ (Swain. Other Hypothesis Some authors have criticized Krashen’s Input Hypothesis. These seemingly irreconcilable differences might be 6 . did not Krashen’s input hypothesis. 2001. Swain defines three functions of output: 1. Swain stated that “learners need the opportunity for meaningful use of their linguistic resources to achieve full grammatical competence. and under the light of a study of French learners in an immersion program in Canada. p.g. they reprocess their hypothesis. 3. and Swain’s output hypothesis hold different viewpoints on the roles of input and output in SLA. therefore the relevance of the output theory might rely on the Noticing function. they notice what they do not know or only know partially in this language. the Output Hypothesis proposed by Merrill Swain appeared while in the 1980’s the SLA theoretical paradigm was that of information processing theory. and extensively doubted his acquiring versus learning concepts. 2. Thus. about grammar. the correct or confirm it.Swain On the other hand. Learners test this hypothesis and receive feedback from the person they are speaking to. Swain’s theory on the other hand.

output is influenced by input. This creates the need for the language teacher to provide quality interaction activities. Conclusion Language acquisition is a very complex process in which several aspects are involved. or simplifying the original message‖ (Pica. but focus on the question of how input could be made comprehensible Both Vygotsky and Long’s hypothesis imply the concept of ―negotiation of meaning. for ―these features of negotiation portray a process in which a listener requests message clarification and confirmation and a speaker follows up these requests. negotiation of meaning is the interaction of speakers when misunderstandings appear. 1985). Clarification requests. learner capacities and output.‖ This hypothesis states that when the learner interacts with other learners or the teacher. and at the same time create opportunities and encourage student interaction among each other as well. according to Vygotsky s approach to the understanding of learning ,the interactions between input and output give rise to second language development. Negotiation of meaning triggers interactional adjustments by the speaker with higher capabilities and facilitates acquisition because it connects input. and to balance the language input and output activities to fulfill the purpose of interaction per se. This hypothesis is attributed to Michael H. 7 . when the learner is guided by instructions (Min. He states that during the process of learning. Therefore. This context is a web woven by social interactions a dialectic unity of input and output. The interaction hypothesis agrees with Krashen’s comprehensible input. 493). Long. 2006. often through repeating. he/she receives input and produces output. Input may be simplified if mistakes arise. cultural. 1994. p. p. and comprehension checks are some of these strategies. Feedback becomes essential. who affirms that a language cannot be acquired without comprehension and internalization of the target language (Long.90). and the output should be guided or monitored by the teachers.answered applying Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory which claims higher mental functioning is constructed in a social. input is often shaped by output. Another way to reconcile these two hypotheses is through ―the Interaction Hypothesis. confirmation checks. elaborating. historical and institutional context. In the same way. or might be escalated if they seldom occur.‖ As defined by Ellis. The interactions between learners and teachers constitute the major form of social interaction in a classroom situation.

"The Input Hypothesis and Its Rivals". Problems in output and the cognitive processes they generate.pdf Krashen. 377-393). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition.45-77. Input in second language acquisition (pp. (1985). On the Plausibility of Second Language Acquisition Models. 2011 from http://www. Input and second language acquisition theory. S.. How Languages are Learned. London: Academic Press Kumaravadivelu.aua. Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages.). Newbury. Krashen. Retrieved October 28th. B. (1998). p.4 (p. S. 235-256. University of Los Angeles. and outcomes? Language Learning. Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory and the Role of Input and Output in Second Language Acquisition. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. H. C. S. (1985) Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. (1982). M. (2011). 8 . S. Celea Journal. Oxford: Pergamon. 372 f.. Research on negotiation: What does it reveal about second-language learning conditions. and Lapkin. Min. (1994). processes. 493-527 Swain. (Eds. M. P. (1994). New Jersey. pp.87-92) Pica. step towards second language learning.From Method to Postmethod. pp. 44(3). In Gass.References Farhady. and Spada. (1995. Understanding Language Teaching . no. (2006). P 49-63.pdf Funiber.com/Principles_and_Practice/Principles_and_Practice. Inc. (n/d). (2006). Vol 29. Input in Second Language Acquisition. Applied Linguistics 16: 371-391. Publishers. T. New York: Newbury House Swain.am/academics/dep/hf_publications/2%20On%20the%20Plausibility%20of%20S LA%20Models. Oxford University Press: New York Long. N.Second Language Acquisition Models: Critical Review. and Madden. G. Wuhan University. Retrieved from http://sdkrashen. M. H. (pp 55-113) Lightbown.

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