ESL Term:

Comprehensible Input

ESL/EFL Glossary: A Guide to applied linguistics terminology.


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comprehensible input: A hypothesis that learners will acquire language best when they are given the appropriate input.  The input should be easy enough that they can understand it, but just beyond their level of competence. If the learner is at level i, then input should come at level i+1. Comprehensible input is an essential component in Stephen Krashen's Input Hypothesis, where regulated input will lead to acquistion so long as the input is challenging, yet easy enough to understand without conscious effort at learning.

One problem with this hypothesis is that i and i+1 are impossible to identify, though arguably teachers can develop an intuition for appropriate input. That is, teachers develop an intution of how to speak to be understood.