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Students names:

Castillo Rojas, Ruth Sara

Surez Lofredo, Jennifer




Tuesday, 28th February 2017

Assignment SLA

Table of Contents

GENERAL INFORMATION.....................................3


1. SWAINS POSITION.......................................5

2. KRASHENS POSITION....................................6

3. BOTH POSITIONS........................................7


Assignment SLA


This assignment consists of reflecting in pairs on the question below and has to fulfil
the following conditions:

- Length: 5 pages (without including cover, index or appendices if there are any-).
- Type of font: Arial or Times New Roman.
- Size: 11.
- Line height: 1.5.
- Alignment: Justified.

The assignment has to be done in this Word document and has to fulfil the rules of
presentation and edition, as for quotes and bibliographical references which are
detailed in the Study Guide.

Also, it has to be submitted following the procedure specified in the Subject

Evaluation document. Sending it to the tutors e-mail is not permitted.

In addition to this, it is very important to read the assessment criteria, which can be
found in the Subject Evaluation document.

Assignment SLA



...producing the target language may be the trigger that forces

the learner to pay attention to the means of expression needed
in order to successfully convey his or her own intended
(Swain 1985: 249)

In Swain's view, learners need not only input, but output: they need to use
language in order to learn it. Krashen, however, as recently as 2009, stated

esRarch done over het aslt ethr decas has shown hat we acquire
anglue yb nusdetarig what we hear and eadr. The abilty to
produce anglue si the result of langue acquiston, not the cause.

onrcFgi usdent ot speak English wil not improve hetir abilty ot


Isitpbolercnhwmygpositevahcnu dglesqitoran,Swpu?Odtheovsirnwxmhfbteoyadprci?

dGuneisl:Toawrthq ymf,uilnedortavcspfquindlerogbythsui,jnmeolar twpxsnufiverot,adhywsmcunilo.YteharbKsndSwicuethobarfmkwSLAy,ndthuseoar gnlfied.

Important: you have to write your personal details and the subject name on the
cover (see the next page). The assignment that does not fulfil these conditions
will not be corrected. You have to include the assignment index below the cover.


Assignment SLA

...producing the target language may be the trigger that forces the learner to
pay attention to the means of expression needed in order to successfully
convey his or her own intended meaning
Merrill Swain

To start with, we need to be clear about Camille Swains output hypothesis. She
supported her hypothesis following the theoretical framework she developed together
with Michael Canale and presented it in their paper Theoretical Bases of
Communicative Approaches to Second Language Teaching and Testing where they

In our view, an integrative theory of communicative competence may be regarded

as one in which there is a synthesis of knowledge of basic grammatical
principles, knowledge of how language is used in social contexts to perform
communicative functions, and knowledge of how utterances and communicative
functions can be combined according to the principles of discourse. (Canale &
Swain, 1980, p. 20).

So, in order to communicate, a SL learner should know formal linguistic aspects

(grammatical competence) of L2, know how to use language appropriately in different
situations and with different speakers (sociolinguistic competence), know how the parts
of language are connected (discourse competence), and know how to be an effective
communicator to achieve communicative goals (strategic competence).

In Swains words, output pushed learners to process language more deeply with
more mental effort than input (Lantolf, 2004, p. 98). She agreed on the importance of
negotiation for it implied comprehensibility of message meaning (input) but she argued
that there was no enough research that demonstrated this negotiation led to second
language learning (Lantolf, 2004). From her point of view, SL learning occurred
through interaction because it allows learners to negotiate not only the message of the
input, but, in doing so, to focus on its form as well. (Lantolf, 2004).

Some benefits of producing output for learners, according to Swain, are shown in the
graphic below:

Assignment SLA

Screenshot from Ling 6500 - SLA


Research done over the last three decades has shown that we acquire
language by understanding what we hear and read. The ability to
produce language is the result of language acquisition, not the cause. Forcing
students to speak English will not improve their ability to speak English
Stephen Krashen

Krashen was clear that comprehensible input was key to SLA. He prepared a paper
dedicated to comprehensible output (CO) where he presented his thoughts about it. In
his words comprehensible output was not responsible for all or even most of our
language competence (Krashen, 1998, p. 175). he believes that forcing or pushing
students to talk allows discomfort among them; it is one of the most anxiety-provoking
aspects of foreign language classes (Young, 1991). Contrary to Swain, Krashen posed
some questions that made interaction look like a vague hypothesis: Is interaction
necessary or just helpful? Is it the only way to acquire language or one way to acquire
language? Also, what occurs during interaction that causes language acquisition?
(Krashen, 1998).

He supported the natural approach where language output is not forced, but allowed to
emerge spontaneously after receiving comprehensible language input, and learners

Assignment SLA

have the opportunity to use L2 or L1 to be clear about the input; besides, speech errors
were not supposed to be corrected.

In his book Principles and Practice in SLA (1982) he explained his input hypothesis
mentioning that we acquire spoken fluency not by practicing talking but by
understanding input, by listening and reading. It is, in fact, theoretically possible to
acquire language without ever talking (Krashen, Principles and Practice in Second
Language Acquisition, 1982).

If a SL learner has a poor perfomance while talking, then his partner will modify his
speech to be more understanable. The formers poor perfomance will affect the quality
of the input and will most likely receive, in general, more modified input than a speaker
who appears competent and fluent. (Krashen, 1982).


One of the most debated issues in SLA research has been the way learners extend the
scope of their language learning. Some theorists, led by Krashen, have claimed that
language acquisition is merely achieved by processing comprehensible linguistic input,
but most researchers have now recognized the essential role of learner output, both
spoken and written, in the acquisition of a second language. Swain was the pioneer
claimer of the output thesis.

On the one hand, according to Krashens input hypothesis we acquire a second

language by understanding messages while processing comprehensible input. This
input is considered comprehensible if it is just a little beyond the current level of the
learners competence and then both comprehension and acquisition will occur
(Krashen1881, 1982, 1985). In fact, this idea supports the Creative Construction
Theory, which connects with Chomskys ideas on first language learning. According to
this theory, learners create internal representations or pictures of the target language
which will develop into the full second language system. Acquisition takes place
internally while learners read or listen and process input they overall understand,
whereas speaking and writing, that is producing language, are not seen as a necessary
step in the learning process, but rather an outcome of the language acquisition.
Something that seems interesting and controversial in Krashens Monitor Model is the

Assignment SLA

difference between acquisition and learning. He supports the idea of acquisition as

the competence gained in the second language while participating in natural
communication and focusing in meaning which would be like picking up the language
in an informal setting. However, he thinks about learning as the conscious study and
internalization of the formal characteristics of the language. By means of this
distinction, he claims that learners are able to edit their own language performance by
using their learned knowledge of the formal language rules. In this way, he seems to
be supporting the view of language acquisition as a merely cognitive process.
According to this idea, communicative competence is achieved by the learners internal
analysis of the second language input while participating in natural communication
rather than by negotiating meaning during social interaction or output feedback.

On the other hand, Swain appears to reject Krashens thesis when she makes the role
of output in SLA stand out. According to her thesis, it is by producing language that
learners notice their mistakes or gaps in the second language, test their target
language skills and receive feedback that will enable them to reflect on the language
they learn and internalize linguistic Knowledge (Swain 1995). In other words, this
theory states that it is by means of output that learners encounter the gaps in their
linguistic knowledge and therefore modify their output in order to internalize new
things about the language.

First of all, we can affirm that Krashens monitor model acknowledges the need of
natural communication in order for second language acquisition to occur. He believes
that acquisition only happens when the learner is participating in natural
communication. This statement clearly reconciles his cognitive model with other
linguistic and sociolinguistic models, like Swains Output thesis, and other theories
where interaction is the main cause of second language acquisition.

For instance, we could see Krashens input and Swains output thesis brought into line
in Longs Cognitive-Interactionist theory of ISLA (2014). In fact, Long explains that it is
by interacting with other speakers of the target language that the learners implicit
learning takes place and this is also when he notices the gaps between [his] own
interlanguage systems and the target input (Long 2014). Longs implicit learning idea
matches Krashens idea on how acquisition takes place. Both of them see acquisition
happening by means of interaction or natural communication and input analysis. In
this way, Swains theory also matches Krashens up since, according to her, it is by

Assignment SLA

means of interaction that the learner notices his mistakes or gaps and learns from
them. On top of that, Swains output thesis implies the analysis of both input and
output to enhance second language acquisition, since the learner encounters his
knowledge gaps while producing the language and receiving feedback on it, that is new
input. It is by comparing this new input or feedback to his own output and
interlanguage that he acquires the second language. All in all, these two theories align
in Longs Interaction Hypothesis where he claims that interaction provides a platform
where input, feedback, negotiation and output can work seamlessly with one another
(Long 1996).

On the other hand, we can also conclude that both the input and output hypothesis
align with interactionists. According to them, the acquisition of the language is the result
of the interaction between the linguistic environment and the learners mental process.
They claim an interesting theory where both Krashen and Swain encounter each other:
the quality of input affects and is also affected by the learners internal mechanisms.
The learners output is not the only important data but rather the discourse built and
negotiated by both the learner and the caretaker. Out of this interaction, second
language acquisition will take place. Moreover, interactionists also support the need of
a modified or comprehensible input for actual learning to occur.

Finally, if the discourse is jointly constructed by the two speakers, the learner and the
interlocutor, through interaction, then input is both the cause and result of this
interaction. This is, we think, where both input and output overlap, since output is also
both cause and result of the interaction. In fact, to this extent both Krashens and
Swains theories reconcile and even overlap.

All things considered, we can acknowledge that both seemingly opposite views are
almost embedded in each other and it is possible to bring them into line.

Assignment SLA


Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical Bases of Communicative Approaches to

Second Language Acquisition Teaching and Testing. Ontario: The Ontario
Institute for Studies in Education.

Haimei, S. (n.d.). Instructed SLA and Task based Language Teaching (Vol. 15).
Columbia University Working Papers in TESOL and Applied Linguistics.

Krashen, S. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Retrieved

on 25 February, 2017, from Stephen Krashen:

Krashen, S. (1998). Stephen D Krashen. Retrieved on 23 February, 2017, from

Comprehensible Output:

Lantolf, J. (2004). Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning. In M. Swain,

& J. Lantolf (Ed.), The output hypothesis and beyond (Third ed.). Oxford
University Press.

Ling 6500. (n.d.). Second Language Acqusition: Theory & Practice. Retrieved on 25
February, 2017, from

Mehmoush, M., & Sayadian, S. (n.d.). International Journal of Language Learning and
Applied Linguistics World.

Young, D. J. (1991). Creating a Low Anxiety Classroom Environment. The Modern

Language Journal, 426-439. Retrieved from