Language learning is a conscious process of internalizing the language in which the learners pays attention to learn grammar in a formal learning environment. There are many language learning theories that can be applied as learning techniques.  Linguist have studied the reasons for inability of L2 learners to achieve native like competence how much they put effort on learning an L2. Critical period hypothesis developed by Lenneberg (1967) states that there is a developmental period for language  acquisition during which the possibility of acquiring language is high. Normally the age of critical period of language acquisition is from age of 2.12 (till puberty)

Language learning theories


Behaviorism is a theory which was initially addressed to explain L1 acquisition. Language learning is explained as any other type of learning in terms of habit formation based on the notions of stimuli and response. The learners receive exposure from the target language users and through imitation forms habits which sometimes interfere with the L1 habit formation and when there are similarities between the L1 and L2, that will be helpful in easy acquisition of L2.

Thus, the teacher should allow students to practice same thing repeatedly without pay attention to the meaning such as cat-cats, chair-chairs, book-books etc. Memorization and mimicry is essential in language learning.


Innatism is known as Universal Grammar as innatist hypothesize that language is acquired through the innate knowledge of the principles of Universal Grammar. Some critics have argued that UG theory is not successful while UG theorist argue that even though the most L2 learners starts learning an L2 after their critical age, they also produce a better output. 

Krashen’s Monitor Model

Monitor Model is a highly influential model of second language learning developed by Krashen based on five basic hypotheses:

– The acquisition-Learning Hypothesis
– The Monitor Hypothesis
– The Natural Order Hypothesis
– The Input Hypothesis
– The Effective Filter Hypothesis

The acquisition-Learning Hypothesis

Acquisition and learning are differentiated in terms of language learning. Acquisition refers to the internalizing of implicit rules, the result of meaningful naturalistic interaction using the language. Learning refers to the conscious process that results in knowing about the language.

The Monitor Hypothesis

The monitor hypothesis asserts that a learner’s learned system acts as a monitor to what they are producing. In other words, while only the acquired system is able to produce spontaneous speech, the learned system is used to check what is being spoken. Before the learner produces an utterance, he or she internally scans it for errors, and uses the learned system to make corrections.

The natural order hypothesis

The natural order hypothesis is an acquisition proceeds in a learner in a ‘natural order’ or in a sequence as they learn their L1, Normally the easiest an the simplest structures will be learnt first and the harder rules later.  The order will be judged  by the simplicity of the rule and also it depends on the individual.

The Input Hypothesis

The fourth hypothesis, the input hypothesis, which applies only to language acquisition and not to language learning, posits the process that allows second language learners to move through the predictable sequence of the acquisition of grammatical structures predicted by the natural order hypothesis. According to the input hypothesis, second language learners require comprehensible input, represented by i+1, to move from the current level of acquisition, represented by i, to the next level of acquisition. 

The Effective Filter Hypothesis

Various effective factors like motivation, anxiety and the learners attitudes and beliefs can ‘block’ input and condition effectively producing acquisition. It is an imaginary barrier that prevents learners from acquiring language from the available input. The filter will be up when the learner is stressed. It will be down when the learner is relaxed and motivated. If the effective filter is low, learning is easy for the learner.

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