Input enhancement


Input enhancement

Input enhancement is a concept in second language acquisition, coined by Michael Sharwood Smith, that is commonly used to signal methods that an instructor uses to make selected features of a second language more salient for learners in such a way as to facilitate acquisition. It may be contrasted with similar but not identical to concepts such as "motherese" or "teacher talk" where the main aim is to make the language comprehensible and where acquisition is not necessarily intended or is at least not the primary motive. It includes but is not limited to a number of techniques such as not reducing vowels, slowing down the rate of speech, more repetition, less pre-verbal modification and more post-verbal modification, use of gestures, visual stimuli, and the use of video as well as explicit, traditional techniques drawing the learner's attention more overtly to how the language system works. Sharwood Smith distinguishes between "external input enhancement", as illustrated above, and "internal input enhancement" where particular aspects of the target language become salient at a given stage simply as a result of some natural developmental process outside the learner's control and not because of outside intervention.

Sharwood Smith, M. (1991). Speaking to many minds: On the relevance of different types of language information for the L2 learner. "Second Language Research", 7 (2), 118-132.

Sharwood Smith, M. (1993). Input enhancement in instructed SLA: Theoretical bases. "Studies in Second Language Acquisition", 15, 165-179.


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