Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Modified Output in Efl Context

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Modified Output in Efl Context

Article excerpt


In the field of second language acquisition (SLA), several studies were carried out to find the ways of fostering the language acquisition process. One of the seminal articles which underscored the importance of output production to improve language proficiency was Swain's (1985) work on comprehensible output which was identified as one of the most prominent factors leading to comprehension and thus acquisition. In this regard, the current paper investigated the change of focus from input (Krashen, 1982) toward output and explored the reason for output provision and its functions that language learners may benefit from. Furthermore, this study underscored the fact that non-native students also can provide negative feedback as opposed to the previously common assumption that one of the interlocutors must be a native speaker to have a real and authentic interaction. Finally, a brief investigation of the previously carried out research demonstrated that when learners get involved in interaction via various tasks (e.g., one-way versus two-way, open versus closed), they may use different modification devices (e.g., confirmation checks, clarification checks and so on). Therefore, teachers should bear in mind that involving students in cooperative exchange of ideas to reach mutual benefits using appropriate tasks with proper combinations in classroom is advantageous.

Keywords: Input, Output, Comprehensible Output, Modified Output, Modification Devices

1. Introduction

The history of second language acquisition (SLA) has been characterized by an unending search for more efficient ways of teaching second or foreign languages. For more than a century, debates and explorations in this regard have often centered on issues such as the role of grammar in language teaching curriculum, the development of accuracy and fluency in language teaching. Deficiencies of the teaching methodologies and syllabi have given rise to the emergence of new insights in SLA concerned with intervening in the process of inter-language development through input manipulation. Krashen (1982), who was the first person to propose an input-based theory, failed to account for the real needs of language learners and underscored the role of input as the mere requisite for development of linguistic capacities. Therefore, an overview of the essentials for learning is provided here.

1.2. Input

Over the past decades the second language research was mainly influenced by the theories proposed for describing the nature of learning and the factors involved in the process of learning. According to Gass (1999) language learning is simulated by communicative pressure that one of its important requirements is 'input'. The precursors of such studies on input are those who define it as auditory or visual linguistic environment that the learner is exposed to (Lightbown, 1985; Watanabe, 1997; Carroll, 1999), or in other terms, the available target language (Ellis, 2006). Different theories were suggested regarding the importance of input such as those which considered input as the only factor leading to learning (Krashen, 1982), and other groups of studies accepted the interaction between learners and the input (as an external sociocultural factor) as requisites for language learning (Carroll, 1999; J. Lee, 2002), while others recognize occurring of learning not because of input alone but also through the interaction learners have with it (Long, 1996).

Input can be described as one of the conditions necessary for creating optimal linguistic environment in which language learning in the context of both first and second languages occurs. Input is the prerequisite of interaction and one of its roles can be its importance in fostering meaningful communicative use in appropriate contexts, but what is appropriate context? Appropriate context that is an idea based on linguistic considerations rests on the argument that provision of sufficient input is prerequisite for language learning, and one of the second language acquisition theories that emphasize the importance of sufficient and efficient quantity of linguistic input is proposed by Krashen (1982). …

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