Luca: Tweaking Krashen's Comprehensible Input model

This is an excellent video which hits the spot between the Almost All Input position which Krashen and Kaufmann advocate and the conventional teaching methods emphasizing Grammar First.

–Luca Lampariello, “Can You Really Learn a Language Without Speaking It?”

Luca believes Comprehensible Input works. It just takes far too long. CI is fine when one is two years-old, has no obligations, and has 24/7 language tutors available for the next 5 years. But if not, not.

So, Luca recommends a blend – he doesn’t specify the proportions – of explicit learning (conjugations, grammar rules) combined with the main course of Comprehensible Input.

I’m only six months into this game and I’m firmly in Luca’s camp. I can see it’s going to take years for my brain to implicitly learn the first person plural of the imperfect subjunctive, as well as a multitude of other things.

I’m making flash cards and drilling on them, though gently as our Steve advises. As well as reading grammar books.

Of course the Two Steves – Kaufmann and Krashen – allow a gammar loophole. My point is they way undersell it.


Completely agree, and I also found this video incredibly useful.

I believe my own experience mirrors your points as well. I learned Swedish for no real reason other than it was fun to do. There were no deadlines, no events on the horizon in which I foresaw needing the language (everyone in Sweden speaks English well enough that my Swedish level is irrelevant) so I really took my time and very closely followed the Steve Krashen approach of input n+1 (though I wasn’t aware that’s what I was doing at the time). It was fun, and since it’s such a similar language to English I actually improved really quicky, but there was never a reason to do it quickly.

Now I’m learning Turkish with LingQ, and I have a reason to learn this language that requires a little more urgency. My partner is from Turkey, and in my life I can foresee having to travel to Turkey. I can’t rely on people, certainly not his family, speaking English. I must learn if I want to actively participate in visits.

And I wholeheartedly agree with your comments - if I want to be able to convey meaning and not be misunderstood (very easy when our cultures are so utterly different; one must be careful) on top of the massive input we all agree with I now feel the need to actively study some of the subtleties and nuances of the grammar. Gently, as you say, but it’s still active study, and a little more than just looking up the grammar definition out of interest.
This is a very recent realisation of mine, and one which Luca’s video nudged me towards.



Thanks for your comment and reinforcement.

I dont mean to be too hard on Comprehensible Input, but I do feel it’s been oversold as an All-In-One solution.


I agree. There are always a ton of variables that we should take in consideration and overselling/oversimplifying a “perfect” solution it is just a marketing technique (conscious or subconscious) to sell an idea or eventually a product, or building its own personal brand around a concept.

However, I now believe input is very important, coming actually from a different experience of output/input on-the-go. But things change a lot depending on our native language and target language.

In some situation, input R+L only can make a big deal on output afterwards. For example if the language is written and pronounced in the same way, if the orthography is simple and if it is easy to understand from the listener point of view.
In this case, a big input will make it very fast to gain output skills afterwards. But not all languages work in the same way.

It’s time for comprehensible input to move beyond its initial (and immature) phases of zealotry and into more mature and sophisticated use, including with other, even “traditional” techniques used in supporting functions.

The zealots will get let behind, especially as the complementary areas are about to get rethought by those who introduce generative AI smartly into the next frontiers of language learning.