Natural Order Hypothesis (Stephen Krashen)

Definition
Hawks, Tara N.


The second of Krashen's (1983) hypothesis, as published in his book The Natural Approach, is the Natural Order Hypothesis. This hypothesis states that grammatical structures are learned in a predictable order (Romeo). Krashen also claims that this can only happen if the subject is given input they can comprehend, and if anxiety levels are low (Rico-Weed). This method applies to both L1 and L2 . In the L1 vowel sounds are recognized in infancy and eventually lead to consonant sounds. Burt & Dulay and Krashen conducted studies to find out if there was a natural order of acquisition for children and adults acquiring a second language. They concluded that most children and adults follow a similar sequence in their acquisition of grammatical morphemes. For example, they discovered that most learners acquire the –ing form (e.g., walking) before the regular past form –ed (e.g., walked).

Yourdictionary.com breaks the theory into a four step sequence that is a bit easier to comprehend. First children produce single words. Next they begin to string those words together based on meaning. Then children begn to idenify and use elements that indicate the beginning and ending of sentences. Finally, children notice the different elements inside of the sentence, and begin to form questions (yourdictionary.com)

References (Please fix APA style)


Díaz-Rico, L. T. & Weed, K. Z. (2010). The crosscultural, language, and academic development handbook: A complete K-12
reference guide (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


Freeman, D. E. & Freeman, Y. S. (2004). Essential linguistics: What you need to know to teach reading, ESL, spelling, phonics, and grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Romeo, Ken. " Krashen and Terrells 'Natural Approach'" http://www.stanford.edu/~kenro/LAU/ICLangLit/NaturalApproach.htm

Article http://www.yourdictionary.com/esl/Second-Language-Acquisition-Theory.html


Critique/Classroom Implications:

Natural Order Hypothesis (Krashen)
Eric Noack

The natural order hypothesis (NOH) proposed by Krashen (1985) views both primary and secondary language as acquired, not learned. Assuming that language is acquired rather than learned, it is more effective to place ELLs in authentic language use situations, rather than teach them directly the rules of language in a decontextualized way. According to the NOH, teachers best facilitate the language acquisition process by supporting the natural patterns that occur as part of language development, and by providing comprehensible input to ELLs.

The process of language acquisition begins by building a listening (receptive) vocabulary, which then lends itself to the production of verbal language. During the language acquisition process, the classroom environment should be welcoming and supportive, like parents encouraging their children as begin to produce utterances like “mama” and “papa.” Along with such encouragement, it would be helpful to expose ELLs to the phonetics of English by taking them places rich with dialogue like a farmer’s market, the movies, a concert, play, or anywhere else that ELLs have the opportunity to participate in dialogue and use their senses to contextualize the language, and increase its comprehensible input.

The natural order hypothesis also suggests we develop certain speech capacities before others, like the low back vowel sounds. It would make sense then, to start with ELLs development of vowel sounds, especially since English contains fifteen vowel phonemes, while Spanish and Japanese have only five (Freeman and Freeman 2004). I feel like a lot of singing would help develop these vowel sounds.

The implication for the classroom are simple. Teachers need to remember that students may not acquire certain forms of the language when they are taught in the classroom because they are not ready. It is important for teachers to always review and recycle language and give students multiple opportunities for acquisition (following their own individual natural order).

References

Díaz-Rico, L. T. & Weed, K. Z. (2010). The crosscultural, language, and academic development handbook: A complete K-12
reference guide (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Freeman, D. E. & Freeman, Y. S. (2004). Essential linguistics: What you need to know to teach reading, ESL, spelling, phonics, and grammar. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. New York: Longman.