SLA-Speak Series: Comprehensible Input (CI)


SLA-Speak Series: Comprehensible Input (CI)

We will wrap up our series on “SLA-Speak” by looking at “Comprehensible Input”.

Note: This is the fifth and (possibly) final post in the series.

  • The first post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Second Language Acquisition Theory
  • The second post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Acquisition vs. Learning
  • The third post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Fluency vs. Accuracy”
  • The fourth post is: “SLA-Speak Series: Affective Filter”

What is “Comprehensible Input”?

Comprehensible Input (CI) is a concept in language learning that refers to language input. The language input received by the language learner is just challenging enough for a learner to understand, with the help of context clues and visual aids. It is neither too easy, where learners don’t learn anything new, nor too difficult, where learners get overwhelmed and cannot understand.

Let’s unpack CI a bit more:

  • When language learners are exposed to Comprehensible Input, they can grasp new words, grammar rules, and sentence structures in a meaningful context.

  • This type of input is like a bridge that helps learners move from what they already know to what they need to learn next in the language.

  • The goal of Comprehensible Input is to keep learners engaged and motivated, as they can follow and understand the message without feeling lost.

  • It can be delivered in various forms, such as spoken language in conversations, written language in books or articles, or audiovisual content like videos or movies.

  • Teachers can provide Comprehensible Input by using gestures, visuals, context-rich stories, and simplified language when instructing learners.

  • Comprehensible Input helps learners to gradually expand their language knowledge and improve their language skills in a natural and enjoyable way.

  • It complements the Affective Filter concept, as Comprehensible Input helps to lower the filter and create a positive learning environment.

In essence, Comprehensible Input is like providing the right balance of challenge and support. It provides language learners with material and language that is just challenging enough for them to understand with context clues and support without overwhelming the learner with input that is too difficult. Furthermore, it is about presenting language in a way that is clear, meaningful, and interesting, allowing learners to grasp new language elements effectively and naturally. Through CI, educators also strive to create an optimal learning environment that fosters engagement, motivation, and language acquisition.

You can find out more here:

What is Comprehensible Input? – A more detailed post on the Voces Digital Blog about CI and its principles, benefits, and tips on how to incorporate it. (By Eric Richards)

The Case for Comprehensible Input – An article in Language Magazine (By Stephen Krashen)

NoteThis is the final post in this series (for now). If you would like me to unpack more SLA terms or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.

Mach’s gut!

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