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[Theories of Foreign Language

Acquisition, Assignment 2. February 8, 2010

Mphil in Linguistics

Assignment Topic:

What types of learners are more prone to fossizile?

Submitted To:
Dr. Shamim Ali

Submitted by:
Kalsoom BeBe Sumra


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[Theories of Foreign Language
Acquisition, Assignment 2. February 8, 2010

Table of Contents

1. Title Page 1

2. Table of Contents 2

3. Abstract 3

4. Definition 3

5. Selinker’s definition 5

6. Other Definitions 7

7. Learners Categories 8

8. Effect of factors on Learning 9

9. Conclusion 12

10. Bibliography 14

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In second language learning, fossilization has been one of the permanent and
interesting problems that researchers of second language acquisition are facing. To
sort out this problem, SLA researchers, theoretical linguistics, cognitive
psychologists, and neurologists, all have tried to explain the reason of fossilization.
Learners fail to reach target level of second language although they are motivated,
having enough input and plentiful practice. This phenomenon ‘fossilization’ was first
introduced by Selinker in his inter language theory. Conceptions regarding
fossilization have been interpreted in different ways and still the topic is contradicted
in several ways of ‘fossilization’.


Fossils (from Latin fossus, literally "having been dug up") are the preserved remains
or traces of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past.

The term fossilization is borrowed from the field of paleontology.

Example: 1+2 = 3

1 and 2 are the inputs while 3 is the output.

Difference in Input and Intake

Learners’ most direct source of information about the target language is the target
language itself. When they come in to direct contact with the target language, this is
referred to as “input.”

When learners process that language in a way that can contribute to learning, this is
referred to as “intake.”

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Stephen Krashen’s Language Acquisition Hypotheses

Stephen Krashen (University of Southern California) is a psychologist and an expert
in the field of linguistics, in the theories of language acquisition and development.

Krashen's theory of second language acquisition consists of five main hypotheses:

1. The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis

2. The Monitor hypothesis
3. The Natural Order hypothesis
4. The Input hypothesis
5. The Affective Filter hypothesis

The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis

Acquisition and learning are two separate processes. The acquisition is a subconscious
process achieved in informal way while learning is conscious process through formal
way it is achieved. Mostly this hypothesis is based on common sense.

The difference between acquisition and learning is as under:

Acquisition Learning
Implicit way of Explicit way of
learning learning
Subconscious Process Conscious Process
Informal environment Formal environment
Need of aptitude Need of attitude
Use grammatical Use grammatical
‘feel’ ‘rules’

In both cases either in acquisition or learning there is use of mental ability that shows
common sense. According to Krashen, the process what the learner acquire and in
which order, both are assessed by the Language Acquisition Device (LAD).


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[Theories of Foreign Language
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What and in which order, the learner acquire language depends on language
acquisition Device. The functioning of LAD works on receiving input containing
structures, not necessary to learn it but the learner may understand the input.

Gregg (1984) points out that Krashen’s use of the Language Acquisition Device
(LAD) gives it much wider scope of operation than even Chomsky himself. (p.81)

McLaughlin (1987) begins his critique pointing out that Krashen do not define
acquisition and learning, conscious and subconscious clearly.

For kids the acquisition is possible to happen but for adults the acquisition is also
possible when they acquire second language unconsciously although Krashen is of the
view that conscious learning cannot be converted in to acquisition for adults.

The Monitor hypothesis

The Monitor hypothesis connects the relationship between acquisition and learning
and the influence of learning over acquisition. Through this hypothesis the practical
result of learned grammar is shown as the function of monitoring. The learning
system performs the role of the ‘monitor’ or ‘editor’.

In the presence of the following three conditions, the monitor functions as planner,
editor and correction:

1. Learner has sufficient time

2. Learner focuses on form and think about correctness
3. Learner knows the rule

According to Krashan the role of monitor is to polish the language and to correct.
There are variations in individuals while using monitor.

Monitor over Users: All the time the learners use monitor.

Monitor under-users: Those learners who have not learned or not preference to use
conscious knowledge.

Optimal User: Optimal user is expert and well aware of language. This kind of user
only use Monitor as a supplement whenever they require it.

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Gregg points (p.84) out that by restricting monitor use to “learned” grammar and only
in production, Krashen in effect makes the Acquisition-Learning Hypothesis and the
Monitor Hypothesis contradictory. Gregg also points out that the restricting learning
to the role of editing production completely ignores comprehension (p.82).

McLaughlin is of the view that t is difficult to trace the mind of the learner how he is
using monitor effect performance.

The Natural Order hypothesis

This hypothesis goes along with natural way of learning. In this hypothesis a learner
guess the meanings and acquire some structure early and some later. Input is given in
this hypothesis in a natural way and this input is to be converted with the help of
Monitor and input Hypothesis in to comprehensive input.

“Gregg argues that Krashen has no basis for separating grammatical morphemes from,
for example, phonology………………McLaughlin also points out that “correct
usage” is not monolithic – even for grammatical morphemes, correct usage in one
situation does not guarantee as correct usage in another (p.33).” (Krashen and
Terrell’s “Natural Approach” by Ken Romeo).

In my point of view that along with natural order there is need of some proper
instructions to learn second language.

What kind of Input is Optimal for Acquisition?

Coming towards the question what type of input is optimal for acquisition?
Gradually with the help of input hypothesis, it will show that comprehensible input is
the optimal input for acquisition. The input hypothesis cannot stand alone as source of
comprehensible input, there is other hypotheses’ participation directly or indirectly in
induction of comprehensible input and it will be summarized in conclusion.

The Input Hypothesis is the central to all acquisition. According to this hypothesis the
language can be acquired only by understanding contents, that is, by receiving
“comprehensible input.” Krashen explains in this hypothesis how the learner acquires

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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a second language. This hypothesis is Krashen's explanation of the process how

language acquisition takes place.

The Input Hypothesis is only concerned with “acquisition,” not “learning.” (Krashen,

Krashen’s Input Hypothesis

Krashen makes the following claims regarding input hypothesis:

1. Learner progresses along a natural order receiving second language 'input'

that is one step beyond current stage of linguistic competence.

Example: The learner is already at 'i' step having first language grounds, the
acquisition takes place when the learner is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input'
of second language that one step ahead to level 'i + 1'.

2. Comprehensible input is necessary for acquisition but all learners cannot be of

the same level having linguistic competence.

3. With simplified input and contextual meanings, input becomes


4. With sufficient amount of comprehensible input, a learner will speak

automatically that is the result of acquisition.

6. Enough input provides the pavement for automatic grammar understanding.

The input hypothesis answers the question of how a language acquirer develops
competency over time. It states that a language acquirer who is at "level i" must
receive comprehensible input that is at "level i+1." "We acquire, in other words, only
when we understand language that contains structure that is 'a little beyond' where we
are now." This understanding is possible due to using the context of the language we
are hearing or reading and our knowledge of the world. ( Krashen, 1987)

The Input Hypothesis Model

Combined model of acquisition and production

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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Detail of Krashen Input Hypothesis

Krashen Input Hypothesis is so important that he has covered this hypothesis in whole
one book. Kreshan distributes a number of input processes and the outputs.

Krashen Statement: Learners progress along the natural order by

understanding input that contains structures that are a
little bit beyond their current level of competence. (i+1)

Output 1: Speaking is a result of acquisition via comprehensible


Output 2: If comprehensive input is there, automatically necessary

grammar is provided.

Source: Based on Krashen, (1985)

Achievement of New Linguistic Material through Comprehensive Input

There are two ways as Krashen describes in which new linguistic material is achieved
through input.

1. Context
2. Simplified Input

The learner takes help for immediate utterance in a case when existing knowledge of
linguistics is insufficient.

There are three kinds of information related to context in mind of learner.

1.1 Extra Linguistic

1.2 The learners’ knowledge of the world

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1.3 Learners’ previously acquired linguistics

In simplified input, Krashen means simplified not simple. He is of the view that
simplification is concerned with communication not with teaching. Through
communication the result may be not perfect rather than perfect. Krashen point of
view is this that every next step is not related to learners’ next stage development


Simplified input comes through one way or two way communication. According to
Krashen two way communications is very good for comprehensible input. The same
time he negates the same statement and according to him advance learners can learn
without any two way communication and the evidence is found in ‘i+1’ shows
learners advancement to next steps in inter language development.

Effectiveness of Caretaker

Krashen accepts that the learner may be able to learn through comprehensible
input as caretakers adopt input according to child’s ability in L1.

Silent Period

According to Krashen learners go through a silent period before producing L2,

where they are building up competence through listening and reading.

Evidence for the Input Hypothesis (chiefly Krashen 1985a)

Krashen's own website
i) people speak to children acquiring their first language in special ways
ii) people speak to L2 learners in special ways
iii) L2 learners often go through an initial Silent Period
iv) the comparative success of younger and older learners reflects provision of
comprehensible input
v) the more comprehensible input the greater the L2 proficiency
vi) lack of comprehensible input delays language acquisition
vii) teaching methods work according to the extent that they use comprehensible input

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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viii immersion teaching is successful because it provides comprehensible input

ix) bilingual programs succeed to the extent they provide comprehensible input

Source: Krashen's own website

The relevant, interesting and authentic material should be used to provide
comprehensible input to the L2 learners.

Criticism on input hypothesis

“Gregg spends substantial time on this particular hypothesis, because, while it seems
to be the core of the model, it is simply an uncontroversial observation with no
process described and no proof provided. He brings up the very salient point that
perhaps practice does indeed also have something to do with second language
acquisition, pointing out that monitoring could be used as a source of correct
utterances (p. 87).”

“McLaughlin is of the view that it is not sufficient to simply say that certain
phenomenon can be viewed from the perspective of the Input Hypothesis. The
concept of a learner’s “level” is extremely difficult to define, just as the idea of i +1 is

“Ellis (1992) points out that even as of his 1985 work (Krashen 1985), he still had not
provided a single study that demonstrated the Input Hypothesis. Over extended
periods of time students do learn to understand more and even how to speak, but it
often seems to take much longer than Krashen implies, indicating that there are
perhaps many more factors involved. More importantly, even given this beginning of
i, and the goal of i + 1, indefinable as they are, the reader is given no indication of
how to proceed.” (Krashen and Terrell’s “Natural Approach”
by Ken Romeo).

My Point of View

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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In my point of view a learner cannot be made bound to acquire specific knowledge

and it is not possible to control the mind of the learner, the process and method how
he/she learns. The mental capability of individual also effect in spite of sufficient

In my point of view, learner will do mistakes again and again without having full
knowledge and insufficient understanding. It is not easy for learner to predict
meaning to understand whole sentence. A learner may guess some of the sentences
but not all and it will not be sufficient input for him.

Affective Filter Hypothesis

Some variables play a negative role in acquisition and these variables are motivation,
self confidence and anxiety. These all variables combine to raise the affective filter
and form a mental block that stops comprehensible input.

Gregg notes several problems with this hypothesis as well. Among others, Krashen
seems to indicate that perhaps the affective filter is associated with the emotional
upheaval and hypersensitivity of puberty, but Gregg notes that this would indicate that
the filter would slowly disappear in adulthood, which Krashen does not allow for
(p.92). McLaughlin argues much along the same lines as Gregg and points out that
adolescents often acquire languages faster than younger, monitor-free children (p.29).
He concludes that while affective variables certainly play a critical role in acquisition,
there is no need to theorize a filter like Krashen’s.

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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What kind of input is optimal for acquisition? It is obvious from Kreshan Monitor
Model and especially from Input Hypothesis that the best input should be
comprehensible having understanding of contents, authentic material and using low
affective filter.

"The best methods are therefore those that supply 'comprehensible input' in low
anxiety situations, containing messages that students really want to hear. These
methods do not force early production in the second language, but allow students to
produce when they are 'ready', recognizing that improvement comes from supplying
communicative and comprehensible input, and not from forcing and correcting
production." Stephen Krashen

In my point of view Krashen Monitor Model is an attempt and a guide for other
researchers to investigate and set out some further rules and evidences to show
learning process in detail.

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[Theories of Foreign Language
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Optimal Input

Affective Filter Optimal input occurs when the "affective filter" is low (Krashen, 1982).
The affective filter is a screen of emotion that can block language
acquisition or learning if it keeps the users from being too self-
conscious or too embarrassed to take risks during communicative

Comprehensible Input Input + 1/Zone of Proximal Development- Input/instruction that is just

above the students abilities. Instruction that is embedded in a
meaningful context, modified (paraphrasing, repetition), collaborative/
interactive and multimodal.

Input +1 Optimal input must be at a level slightly above that of the learner.
Krashen labeled this concept "input + 1". To explain this principle,
Krashen uses an analogy of an English speaker trying to comprehend
Spanish from a radio program. Those of us who have a beginner's
ability to speak Spanish and who have listened to a Spanish radio
broadcast know how frustrating (and incomprehensible) it can be to try
to attend to input that is just too complex and that lacks a visible
context from which we can deduce clues.

Source: Glossary of Second and Primary Language Acquisition Terms.

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[Theories of Foreign Language
Acquisition, Assignment 2. February 8, 2010

Ellis, Rod. (1990). Instructed Second Language Acquisition. Oxford:
Blackwell Publishers Ltd.
Ning Ning, (Nina). (2009). The Role of Input in Second Language
Acquisition. “A Seminar Paper Research, Presented to the Graduate Faculty,
University of Wisconsin-Platteville.”
21st Century Webster's International Encyclopedia 2 Vol. Trident Press
International. (2005).
Terrell, T.D. (1977). "A natural approach to the acquisition and learning of a
language". Modern Language Journal, 61. 325-336.
Glossary of Second and Primary Language Acquisition Terms. “Language
Acquisition”<>You have
removed results from this search. Hide themLoading...
Wilson, Reid. A Summary of Stephen Krashen's "Principles and Practice in
Second Language Acquisition". First appeared: Language Learning #9 and
Schutz, Ricardo. Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition.
2 July. 2007. July 2, 2007. <http: //>.
Second Language Acquisition Theory
<http: //

Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition by Vivian Cook

<http: //>

Stephen Krashen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Schütz, Ricardo. Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition.

28 March, 2005.
<'s%20Theory.htm >

S, Krashen. Principles and practice in second language acquisition New York,

1995 - Oxford Univ Press
S Krashen, TD Terrell. The natural approach: Language acquisition in the
classroom - ELT Journal - Oxford Univ Press

Krashen's own website: <>

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