Skip to main content Accessibility help

Comprehensible Input and Second Language Acquisition: What is the Relationship?

  • Lester Loschky (a1)

This study attempts to test aspects of the input hypothesis (Krashen, 1980, 1983, 1985) and Long's modification of it (Long, 1980, 1983a, 1985). Specifically, it experimentally tests the hypothesis that both input and interactional modifications facilitate second language acquisition, using Japanese as the target language. Three experimental groups were differentiated in terms of input and interaction conditions: (1) unmodified input with no interaction, (2) premodified input with no interaction, and (3) unmodified input with the chance for negotiated interaction. The groups were compared in terms of (a) their degree of comprehension of the input and (b) their subsequent retention of vocabulary items and acquisition of two Japanese locative structures. The results indicated that moment-to-moment comprehension was highest for the negotiated interaction group, whereas there was no significant difference between the two noninteraction groups. Furthermore, there was no correlation found between differences in moment-to-moment comprehension and gains in vocabulary recognition and acquisition of structures, though significant gains on both measures were found for all three groups. Discussion of these findings centers on the relationship between comprehension and acquisition.

Hide All
Aston, G. (1986). Trouble-shooting in interaction with learners: The more the merrier? Applied Linguistics, 7, 128143.
Chaudron, C. (1985). Intake: On models and methods for discovering learners' processing of input. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 7, 114.
Chaudron, C. (1988). Second language classrooms: Research on teaching and learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Clark, E. V., & Hecht, B. F. (1983). Comprehension, production, and language acquisition. Annual Review of Psychology, 34, 325349.
Doughty, C. (1991). Second language instruction does make a difference: Evidence from an empirical study of SL relativization. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13, 431470.
Doughty, C., & Pica, T. (1986). Information gap tasks: Do they facilitate second language acquisition? TESOL Quarterly, 20, 305325.
Faerch, C., & Kasper, G. (1983). Plans and strategies in foreign language communication. In Faerch, C. & Kasper, G. (Eds.), Strategies in interlanguage communication (pp. 2060). London: Longman.
Faerch, C., & Kasper, G. (1986). The role of comprehension in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 7, 257274.
Foss, D. (1988). Experimental psycholinguistics. Annual Review of Psychology, 39, 301348.
Fraser, C., Bellugi, U., & Brown, R. (1963). Control of grammar in imitation, comprehension and production. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 2, 125135.
Gass, S. (1989). How do learners resolve linguistic conflicts? In Gass, S. & Schachter, J. (Eds.), Linguistic perspectives on second language acquisition (pp. 183199). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gass, S., & Varonis, E. (1985). Task variation and nonnative/nonnative negotiation of meaning. In Gass, S. & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 149161). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Gass, S., & Varonis, E. (1994). Input, interaction and second language production. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 16(3), 283302.
Gregg, K. (1984). Krashen's monitor and Occam's razor. Applied Linguistics, 5, 79100.
Harrington, M. (1986). The T-unit as a measure of JSL oral proficiency. Descriptive and Applied Linguistics, 19, 4956. Tokyo: International University of Japan, Summer Institute in Linguistics.
Herskovits, A. (1985). Semantics and pragmatics of locative expressions. Cognitive Science, 9, 341378.
Hoji, H., & Kitagawa, Y. (1990). The linguistic notion ‘head’ in Japanese language instruction. Journal of Japanese Linguistics, 12, 5385.
Hulstijn, J. (1989). Implicit and incidental second language learning: Experiments in the processing of natural and partly artificial input. In Dechert, H. & Raupach, M. (Eds.), Interlingual processes (pp. 4973). Tubingen: Gunter Narr.
Jorden, E. (1963). Beginning Japanese, part I. Tokyo: Tuttle.
Krashen, S. (1980). The input hypothesis. In Alatis, J. (Ed.), Current issues in bilingual education (pp. 144158). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
Krashen, S. (1983). Newmark's “Ignorance Hypothesis” and current second language acquisition theory. In Gass, S. & Selinker, L. (Eds.), Language transfer in language learning (pp. 135153). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. London: Longman.
Long, M. (1980). Input, interaction, and second language acquisition. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
Long, M. (1983a). Linguistic and conversational adjustments to non-native speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 5, 177193.
Long, M. (1983b). Native speaker/non-native speaker conversation and the negotiation of comprehensible input. Applied Linguistics, 4, 126141.
Long, M. (1985). Input and second language acquisition theory. In Gass, S. & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 377393). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Long, M., & Sato, C. (1983). Classroom foreigner talk discourse: Forms and functions of teachers' questions. In Seliger, H. & Long, M. (Eds.), Classroom oriented research in second language acquisition (pp. 268286). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Loschky, L. (1988, 03). The effects of task and culture on negotiated interaction. Paper presented at the Eighth Second Language Research Forum, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.
Loschky, L. (1989). The effects of negotiated interaction and premodified input on second language comprehension and retention (Occasional Paper No. 16). Honolulu: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of English as a Second Language.
Loschky, L., & Bley-Vroman, R. (1993). Grammar and task-based methodology. In Crookes, G. & Gass, S. (Eds.), Tasks and language learning: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 123167). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual matters.
MacWhinney, B., & Bates, E. (Eds.) (1989). The cross-linguistic study of sentence processing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McLaughlin, B., Rossman, T., & McLeod, B. (1983). Second-language learning: An information-processing perspective. Language Learning, 33, 135158.
Murdock, B. B. (1982). Recognition and memory. In Puff, C. (Ed.), Handbook of research methods in human memory and cognition (pp. 226). New York: Academic Press.
Nation, I. S. P. (1982). Beginning to learn foreign language vocabulary: A review of the research. RELC Journal, 13, 1436.
Parker, K., & Chaudron, C. (1987, 03). The effects of linguistic simplification and elaborative modifications on L2 comprehension. Paper presented at the 21st Annual TESOL Convention, Miami, FL.
Pica, T. (1992, 07). Second language learning through interaction and the negotiation of conditions, processes, and outcomes. Paper presented at the first annual Pacific Second Language Research Forum, University of Sydney, Australia.
Pica, T., & Doughty, C. (1985). Input and interaction in the communicative classroom: A comparison of teacher-fronted and group activities. In Gass, S. & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 115132). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Pica, T., Holliday, L., Lewis, N., & Morgenthaler, L. (1989). Comprehensible output as an outcome of linguistic demands on the learner. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 11, 6390.
Pica, T., Kanagy, R., & Falodun, J. (1993). Choosing and using communication tasks for second language instruction and research. In Crookes, G. & Gass, S. (Eds.), Tasks and language learning: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 934). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual matters.
Pica, T., Young, R., & Doughty, C. (1987). The impact of interaction on comprehension. TESOL Quarterly, 21, 737758.
Rixon, S. (1979). The ‘information gap’ and the ‘opinion gap’–Ensuring that communication games are communicative. ELT Journal, 33, 104106.
Ross, S., Long, M., & Yano, Y. (1991). Simplification or elaboration? The effects of two types of text modifications on foreign language reading comprehension. University of Hawaii Working Papers in ESL, 10(2), 132.
Sachs, J., Bard, B., & Johnson, M. (1981). Language learning with restricted input: Case studies of two hearing children of deaf parents. Applied Psycholinguistics, 2, 3354.
Schachter, J. (1984). A universal input condition. In Rutherford, W. (Ed.), Language universals and second language acquisition (pp. 167183). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Schmidt, R. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11, 129158.
Schmidt, R., & Frota, S. (1986). Developing basic conversational ability in a second language: A case study of an adult learner of Portuguese. In Day, R. (Ed.), Talking to learn (pp. 237326). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
SharwoodSmith, M. Smith, M. (1986). Comprehension versus acquisition: Two ways of processing input. Applied Linguistics, 7, 239256.
Shimura, A. (1989). Nihongo no Foreigner Talk to Nihongo kyoiku [Foreigner talk in Japanese as a foreign language], Nihongo Kyoiku: Journal of Japanese Education, 68, 204215.
Slobin, D. (1989). Foreword. In MacWhinney, B. & Bates, E. (Eds.), The cross-linguistic study of sentence processing (pp. viiix). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Snow, C., Arlman-Rupp, A., Hassing, Y., Jobse, J., Joosten, J., & Yorster, J. (1976). Mothers' speech in three social classes. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 5, 120.
Snow, C., & Ferguson, C. (1977). Talking to children: Language input and acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sridhar, S. (1989). Cognitive structures in language production: A crosslinguistic study. In MacWhinney, B. & Bates, E. (Eds.), The cross-linguistic study of sentence processing (pp. 209224). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development. In Gass, S. & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235253). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Teichroew, F. (1982). Receptive versus productive vocabulary: A survey. Interlanguage Studies Bulletin, 6(2), 333.
Varonis, E., & Gass, S. (1985). Non-native/non-native conversations: A model for negotiation of meaning. Applied Linguistics, 6, 7190.
White, L. (1987). Against comprehensible input: The input hypothesis and the development of second-language competence. Applied Linguistics, 8, 95110.
Young, R. (1988). Input and interaction. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 9, 122134.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed