Comprehensible Input

The video below demonstrates Stephen Krashen’s influential notion of “Comprehensibe Input” far better than I could explain it. Watch the video, then read the discussion below.

[Vido no longer available]

How could this perspective be applied to teaching Ancient Greek? I am certain that Krashen is correct in his assessment of the nature of language acquisition, but teaching an ancient language presents some special problems that make his method extremely difficult.

No materials designed specifically to support this kind of teaching exist for Hellenistic Greek as far as I know (though some limited attempts have been made). My own online grammar is certainly not suited to this purpose. I wrote most of it far too long ago. It is focussed on learning Greek, not acquiring it (See “Acquiring and Learning Greek“).

I would like at some point to begin to create materials to support this kind of instruction for Hellenistic Greek, but that’s a major project that is going to have to wait quite a while.

7 Comments on “Comprehensible Input”

  1. Thanks for the reminder, Stephen. I was aware of this, but forgot to mention it. I have not had the opportunity to read the material he has produced for teaching Hebrew and Greek, but I would not be surprised if it shows the impact of Krashen’s work. I know Randal is conversant with Krashen’s perspective (See Randall Buth on Greek Lexicography).

    I would like to have copies of his introductory material on Greek, but have not yet bought it. I hope he will comment on this thread, since he, more than anyone else I’m aware of, has attempted to incorporate Krashen’s perspective into his own teaching.

  2. There is one aspect of my online grammar that was inspired by Krashen’s work. I mentioned this in the preface to the print edition. My decision to include the “Reading and Translation” exercises at the end of each lesson was an attempt to introduce a small element of comprehensible input, where the reader is able to check understanding immediately and reread with support, making the text comprehensible.

    It is a weak attempt, but at least it was something achievable at that early period.

  3. You might want to drop by the http://www.biblicalulpan.org website and read some of the testimonies and the descriptions of methodology.
    Yes, we have been influenced by Krashen, as well as by Asher and TPR, and Ray with TPRS, and further SLA research than includes ‘spoken production’ in its time, as part of the basic acquisition program. One learns/’acquires’ a language by using a language in understandable, real communication.
    It is a shame that you couldn’t come to our Gospel in the Galilee 10 day immersion this past April. We will probably be doing a ‘Jesus in Jerusalem’ in Jan 2012, and maybe something in the US in early-August 2011. There is a brief bit on Youtube.

    If you are coming to Atlanta this month, I’ll be doing a paper at ETS on Greek Immersion methodology as part of a panel on Greek methodologies, basically BLC ‘immersion’ and two representatives of ‘grammar-translation’. At SBL I’ll be giving a paper, “Why am I speaking to you in Greek?”
    ἔρρωσο
    Ἰωάνης
    Randall Buth
    http://www.biblicalulpan.org

    • I just spent some time perusing Biblical Ulpan, and I’m delighted with what I see there. I would love to see your materials find a wider audience here in the U.S.

      I would love to order my own copy, but that’s going to have to wait a while. Perhaps in the Summer…

      It looks like John Schwandt at New St. Andrews College is using your materials to teach Greek there. Do you know of other schools in the U.S. using your materials?

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