What is Comprehensible Input?

I originally had a link to an article on Everyday Language Learner called “25 Ways to Find or Create Comprehensible Input.”  Sadly, that article no longer appears to be available.  As I substitute, I offer a link to a podcast (with show notes) by Olly Richards (of I Will Teach You a Language) that gives 5 suggestions.

Image result for comprehensible input

When you are starting learning a language, one of the most important lessons you will learn is that you need to surround yourself (or at least occasionally dunk yourself into) comprehensible input. What does this fancy linguistic term mean?

       Coined by Krashen, comprehensible input is defined as just slightly above the level at which a listener can fully comprehend.  The formula given for this is often “i + 1”.  “i” represents the learner’s current ability; 1 represents that little bit extra.

In other words, to really up your listening ability, just immersing yourself in language content may not be the best all time strategy.  Yes, you will learn words, but you are also likely to get frustrated because of how little you comprehend. (Note- motivation and other familiarity factors do play a role here.  If you adore an anime and have seen it 1000 times in English, and then watch it in Japanese, even with it being well above a novice language level, you may easily pick up more simply by having the prior context.  These notes are more for brand new material which you do not have any emotional connection to.)

A better strategy is to find material that is just a bit above your level for regular practice.  I still advocate passively listening to the other materials, but give yourself something solid to work with regularly.

So that’s all I’ve got for tonight folks!  As always, thanks for following and reading my random linguistic ramblings.  Please feel free to hit up my inbox with any ideas, suggestions, or questions!

Peace out my Polyglot Peeps!
Original Article Posting can be found here.  Originally posted 04/28/14.