The Benefits of Comprehensive Input When Learning a New Language
Do you find it hard to comprehend difficult vocabularies when learning a second language? You are not the only one. Many types of research have shown that many people are interested in acquiring fluency in a foreign language strain.
When learning a new language, you need to learn and at the same time study. What is the difference between the two processes? Studying is where you make an effort to acquire knowledge of the language. In learning, the content gets to your subconscious mind, and you can retrieve it whenever you need it. Both processes are crucial in learning.
If you have ever taken a foreign language class, you can agree that the process of learning the grammar of the new language can be overwhelming. It can take you several months, and you still struggle. What is the best way to go about it?
Stephen Krashen, a renown linguist, came up with a new strategy that can help you understand a language fast, comprehensible input. It is where the learner is exposed to a language by listening to repetitively, reading, and speaking. The learner does not have to know the meaning of all the words used in a sentence. Instead, there are a few contextual words that the reader may have been exposed to that helps them understand the whole sentence. Although it is hard at first, it becomes easier as one progresses.
At first, one does not have to know how to speak that language. They should learn vocabularies and sentences. To illustrate how this works, Stephen gives an example of how a child learns a language. There is no specific procedure the toddles use to learn their native language. Instead, they understand what happens in the environment in which they live by listening to what the adults say. The point is that they absorb the language first before they can begin speaking. When these children reach an age where they can make friends, they begin talking. In the beginning, they may murmur incomprehensible statements.
With time, they become more proficient in the language. That is the same approach that adults can use to understand a foreign language. Therefore, you should not be in a hurry to understand all the English to Italian translations within a day. You can easily become frustrated when you have the feeling you are not mastering the foreign language as fast as you should.
How Comprehensible Input Helps in Better Language Comprehension
Most academic institutions that teach foreign languages have stuck to the traditional for long. It is based on the theory that the ability of a person to learn a foreign language is imprinted in their brains. Therefore, the method of learning should be based on memorization. That is different from what Stephen says. In Stephen’s view, people learn a language by their ability to listen and comprehend what people say as well as reading the content. Therefore, people should focus on reading and listening more as opposed to just getting the grammar aspects of the language as directed in the traditional methods. There is no point of putting more emphasis on grammar instructions when learning. What are other ways in which the two methods differ:
- Less focus on rules
The traditional method focuses on the comprehension of grammar, vocabulary, and other rules that are used in the language. To Krashen, that may prevent a person from learning the fundamental issues in language use. People who use the approach end up being incompetent in the target language even after learning for many years. With Comprehension input, things are different. One develops the urge to understand what others say and be understood as well. Apart from being proficient, one learns the importance of communicating differently in varied situations.
- More exposure to the language
Comprehensible input is a crucial concept in any learning situation. The focus is to spend time listening to what people say and reading content in the foreign language. In the beginning, speaking the language is not compulsory. That means that pressure is off the back of the learner.
However, the input you get should be right. The target language is taught at a level that is slightly beyond the comprehension of the learner. If they know everything, they are a tendency to get bored. However, the content should be simple enough such that the learner has the motivation to learn.
- Monitoring the learner
The learners are encouraged to use the language frequently. Therefore, one should not fear to make language mistakes. Meanwhile, the errors you make in communication can be corrected immediately. That way, you are unlikely to use a language the wrong way next time.
How Can Comprehensive Input Be More Effective
Though comprehensive input works magic in learning a foreign language, there are methods to make it more effective. First, the learner needs to have the motivation to learn the target language. The learning process has to begin in mind. When you already love what you are learning, it becomes easier to comprehend the content of the trainer.
The content used for the learning needs to be compelling. Even when you are reading content in a language you already know, there is more motivation to go through it when it is a story that you love. Therefore, the content that is presented to the learner should be something they can relate to. It can be based on the current events so that the reader finds it easy to understand the context of the information presented. Look for movies and audios on interesting subjects such as religion, history, or fashion in the language.
The conducive input method is accompanied by relevant gestures, proper explanation of the context, and another visual aid. That way, the learners find it easy to comprehend even the terms they have never encountered before. It builds on the weaknesses of traditional learning methods. The learners are not frustrated with the traditional guides that do not help them in fluency. It makes your foreign language learning experience easier.