What is comprehensible input?

i still do not understand exactly all what this means i was reading stephen krashen book on languages does it mean you have to understand everything you read or listen to .for it to sink in your brain

Not every word, but the essence of your reading and listening.
However, you can here make a lot of lingqs to understand what you are reading.

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Krashen is not trying to give us a method of language learning; he is trying to explain how it works, how the brain learns a new language. So he is saying that you acquire the language (vocabulary and grammar) when you hear or read content that you understand. Basically, the more you understand, the more you acquire. The less you understand, the less you acquire.

And Krashen also agrees with what Evgueny said: The “feeling” that you understand what you are reading is effectual as well - even though you don’t understand every word.

“comprehensible input” is information that comes to you from reading or from listening that you understand/comprehend. If you use material that is not comprehensible it is less valuable because you can’t understand it (yet).

This makes absolute sense to me, that listening must be comprehensible, but the idea of listening to incomprehensible information for the purpose of doing a lot of listening seems to be advocated by some on LINGQ. There may be some limited value in it for gaining an understanding of the structural sounds of the language, but comprehension of the content is not as good. I prefer to at least attempt to translate the text by LINGQing and flash cards, which improves my comprehension when I play the audio. If there is a quicker and more efficient way, then I would like to hear it. But, just listening to more incomprehensible input, doesn’t do it for me.

The input hypothesis. This states that learners progress in their knowledge of the language when they comprehend language input that is slightly more advanced than their current level. Krashen called this level of input "i+1", where "i" is the learner's interlanguage and "+1" is the next stage of language acquisition.
The above excerpt is from Wikipedia.
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As Evgueny said i think it’s about getting context. If you understand the gist of what is being said but not all the words then you comprehend meaning and learning the words and phrases will be easier because you already get a sense of meaning.

Compare this to being totally lost in a conversation and they could be talking about the weather, sports or the space program and you don’t have a clue, but you hear a couple of words that you understand. Here you have no context to relate the words you hear back to and so haven’t advanced at all.

However if you for example know all about say, Manchester United, and yet you don’t know the words Busby, Treble or Champions, if you were reading a history of Manchester United and got 95% of everything you read, you’d eventually see these words often enough in context to infer their meaning.

IMHO it can also be incredibly important to have visual cues along to go along with the audio input.

When I lived in Germany I was able to learn so much from watching TV. It’s common sense, when you think about it. If one is listening to an audio book and hears something like “geh in Decking!” the meaning might not be at all clear. But if you see your favorite action hero diving behind a car to avoid a hail of bullets while yelling “geh in Deckung!” to bystanders, it becomes instantly obvious that it must mean “take cover” or “hit the deck”, etc.

I have sometimes wondered whether it’d be possible to learn a language from watching TV alone? Maybe, if I watched Welsh language TV several hours a day (which I could easily do), I’d start to understand that crazed Celtic talk too?! It’s a scary thought, in a way…! :-0

You’re right. I was just saying to my wife the other day that gestures are so important.

It’s hard to figure out ‘give me that’ for example without knowing the words beforehand.

If you don’t know ‘give me that’, and in real life someone wants the object from you, they will say ‘GIVE ME THAT’.

You’ll go ‘uh?’ and then they will hold their hand out and gesture. If you still get it wrong and for example give them the wrong object they will point to the right one and say ‘give me THAT’.

You learn so so much from the language being alive rather than merely being words on screen. I’m starting to watch a lot of French now so i’m getting used to these things rather than simply reading and listening, i think watching and listening should be high up on the list too.

I think the definition of comprehensible input can vary depending on the circumstance. Krashen emphasizes reading. If you are reading a book without the help of an online dictionary, without audio and without LingQ then the difficulty level needs to be just a little more advanced then what you can easily handle. However, I have found that if I have the audio, can listen more than once, can save words as we do here at LingQ , and especially if I am interested in the subject and familiar with the subject, the threshold of what qualifies as meaningful input can be higher in other words more challenging, more unknown words and more difficult.
I don’t like to listen to content where I have no chance of understanding the meeting. However I think it is a good idea to challenge oneself with more difficult content, in order to expand one’s vocabulary. If we only deal with material where 95% of the words are known, it will take forever to grow our vocabulary. Vocabulary growth is a major component of language learning.
To me visual clues are irrelevant to this process of vocabulary accumulation. The number of words that can be visually represented is very small and I don’t feel they help very much since the text we are reading or listening to normally provides all the clues we need especially when we can access a dictionary online as we do at LingQ.

I agree with visual clues being irrelevant largely, but they are handy for concepts or phrases like ‘give me that’ or ‘go over there’ or ‘sweep the floor’. Obviously in real life, very few people adult-to-adult are going to give you that much leeway in a conversation, if at all, but it would be a very good way to learn to supplement reading and listening.

IMO it isn’t really so much about words being “visually represented” - although that may be true in some cases. Ultimately I reckon the most valuable thing is to have an ongoing enhanced understanding of the context to accompany the audio input stream.

To prove this point, one could even try watching any TV crime drama (or similar) with the volume turned right down. Generally one can get a pretty good idea of what is going on just from the visuals. By contrast, the printed page generally offers no such info! An exception would be, of course, graphic novels or comic books.