The Basics – Introduction


in The Basics

Developing language ability is a natural process. If we understand how this process works, we can cooperate with the process to improve our English more effectively (successfully) and efficiently (without wasting time, energy, or money). The purpose of The Basics is to help English students understand the process of language development.

There are different ideas about how we develop language ability. The ideas in this short course are based on years of scientific research. Teachers who teach from these ideas have been very successful. And so have students who have used them for their personal English development. I hope you learn from them and enjoy the same success!

5 explanations

In science, a hypothesis is an explanation about how something works. A good hypothesis can be tested to see if it is true. The five articles below describe five hypotheses (explanations) about how we come to know English or any other language. And there’s a lot of scientific evidence that tells us they are true.

These five hypotheses were first described by Dr. Stephen Krashen from the University of Southern California. Dr. Krashen taught at USC for many years and is now professor emeritus; he is a linguist and educational researcher. For those who are interested, a good place to find Dr. Krashen’s descriptions of these hypotheses is in his book Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use.

The five articles include:

  1. Two ways to know a language
  2. What comes first?
  3. Quality control
  4. Only one way
  5. Don’t worry, be happy!

A short, imaginary trip

When we read and listen to easy-to-understand English, our minds acquire (pick up or absorb) more English.

  • Inside the brain is a short, imaginary trip inside the English student’s brain to try to create a picture of what happens there when they read and listen.

The power of reading and listening

  • Most of our fluency – our ability to read, write, listen, and speak – comes from what we read and hear. In The power of reading and listening, you’ll learn more about this important truth and how to use reading and listening to improve your English.

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