Steven Krashen Hypothesis On Second Language Acquisition

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Steven Krashen’s Hypothesis on Second Language Acquisition
The second language classroom is full of theories of how to get students to acquire the target language (L2). These theories have been around for many years and have been debated and revised numerous times. Theories such as the grammar translation theory, used up until the 1940’s, are no longer in favour because of their inability for learners to use the language in colloquial situations have been superseded by new innovative ideas. At the time of writing this paper, there are three main theories used in the second language classroom: Behaviorist, Innate, and Interactionist. In the late 1950’s, Skinner’s behaviorist theory of language acquisition was fully accepted and linguists agreed
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D. Krashen, 1985, p.1) According to Krashen (2013, p.2), learners acquire language in a set order that is not connected to levels of complexity. This phenomenon explains a variety of problems in the second language classroom. Krashen (2013, p.2) stated “ the natural order cannot be changed” and that language will not be acquired until the “acquirer is ready for it”.
The Monitor Hypothesis
If you consider the human brain as a very powerful computer, then this will help to understand the “Monitor Hypothesis”. Krashen’s hypothesis (2013), states that “consciously learned language is only available as a monitor, or editor”(p.2) and that the conscious brain edits sentences before they are spoken. To use the monitor successfully, Krashen stated that “three conditions must be met: The speaker must know the rules, be thinking about corrections”, and “have time to think” (p.3). Research shows that these three conditions are very rarely met in colloquial situations.
The Input
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The Affective Filter Hypothesis
The idea of an effective filter first became known in a paper written by Dulay, H, & Burt, M. (1977, p. 95-126) under the name of “affective delimiters”. This was the basis for Krashen to build his “Affective Filter Hypothesis” This hypothesis states that the biggest obstacle to language learners is an “affective filter” that is “part of the internal processing system that subconsciously screens incoming language” (Zafar, 2010, p144). Krashen (1983, p.31) explains that three variables control the filter: “motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety”. When the filter in place it does not stop the learner from understanding the language but stops the language from reaching the “Language Acquisition Device” LAD.
The existence of the filter can be proven by examining language classrooms where a group of students all receive the same input but not all of them manage to acquire the same proficiency in the language. This result proves the existence of the “affective filter” and shows that it closes the “Language acquisition device” to the input. (S. Krashen, 2013)
Krashen’s Theory in the
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