Why input trumps output in language learning.

Some arguments in favour of input. I am sure there are many more.

  • We need to understand before we can speak.
  • I would rather understand well and stumble when I speak than the reverse.
  • If we can produce intelligible phrases and do not understand the answers, our conversations will not last long.
  • Passive vocabulary is powerful, necessary, and always much larger than our active vocabulary of the words we like to use.
  • The more we understand, and the more words we have, even passively, the more interesting our interaction with the language and the more words we can acquire.
  • If we understand most of a text, or conversation, it is easier to pick up the words and phrases we do not yet know.
  • The acquisition of passive vocabulary through input, is like putting the pieces of the jig-saw together. Gradually the picture becomes clearer.
  • Input is easy to arrange. We can listen and read anywhere and anytime.
  • Input is interesting, if we choose content that is meaningful to us.
  • If we develop the habit of input learning we become independent.
  • Input learning makes it easy to review our languages, and maintain them.
  • Through input learning, especially with authentic content. we learn not only the language, but many more things.
  • At any time in our input learning activities, we can decide to speak or write, to practice what we have learned.
  • Of course we need to speak a lot, in order to speak well, but our progress in speaking will be smoother if we invest time in input, and continue doing so.
  • Our interaction with any language, including our own, is mostly as listeners and readers.
  • If we are good listeners and readers, our output skills will have a sound base.

One of my goals in any language learning project is to read a full length book in that language. Getting there is a powerful moment of achievement, an Everest.

I could go on….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s