Studies in Second Language Acquisition


Comprehensible Input and Second Language Acquisition

What is the Relationship?

Lester Loschkya1

a1 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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.

(Received October 19 1993)