Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sugiharto: Cho & Krashen (2016) "lacks explanatory power"? I respond (of course).

Comprehensible Input as Sociocognitive Alignment: A Response to Cho and Krashen (2016)   Setiono Sugiharto
A plethora of studies on how language is acquired through comprehensible inputs has generated valuable insights into language acquisition theory. Many of these studies have confirmed that humans acquire language in one way – through reading and listening. In particular, a recent study by Cho and Krashen (2016) published in this journal further confirms that the exposure to input (i.e. in the form of pleasure reading) is beneficial for attaining advanced level of language development both in a foreign and second language. While insightful, this study is highly descriptive and lacks explanatory power. In addition, it treats successful acquisition as a result of the sole contribution of mind; that is, acquisition is seen as internally driven and resides in intellectu. Thus, we need to go beyond this description. In this article, I will provide more explanation to their descriptive exposition by showing that the acquisition of both first and second language is a gradual result of “sociocognitive alignment’ (Atkinson, 2010). This is to say that multifaceted sociomaterial aspects, other than cognition, play a key role and immensely contributes to successful acquisition of language.  
Full paper available at:

Krashen, S. (2016). Response to Sugiharto, "Comprehensible input as social alignment." Turkish Online Journal of English Language Teaching (TOJELT), 1(2), 105.
It is true that my work and the work of my associates have focused mainly on the cognitive aspects of language acquisition. But it is not true that we have ignored non-cognitive variables. Our papers have discussed the role of poverty, the importance of access to reading material, the role of librarians, the role of parents, the function of interaction, club membership, personality, technology, etc. They have gone well beyond merely "mentioning ... sociomaterial components." Please do not generalize my interests from a single paper. Many of my papers and books are available for free at:
My impression is that many of those who focus on social aspects of language acquisition ignore the cognitive aspects, not just in one or two papers but in all their work.
It is also not true that our studies are "highly descriptive in nature and lack explanatory power." The standard definition of explanatory power is "the ability of a hypothesis or theory to effectively explain the subject matter it pertains to." (e.g. Dekkers, 2015, p. 65). All of our studies are designed to test central hypotheses in language acquisition theory and the hypotheses have done a good job in explaining many phenomena in language acquisition. All description contributes to hypothesis testing.
Dekkers, R. (2015). Applied systems theory. Springer International Publishing: Switzerland.

Cho and Krashen paper: Cho, K.S. and Krashen, S. 2016. What does it take to develop a long-term pleasure reading habit? Turkish Online Journal of English Language Teaching.  1(1): 1-9.


  1. I enjoyed your presentation it is useful for my work I am currently doing service in the type of product or visit our website for more details

  2. Dr. Krashen, it makes me so happy to see you defend your incredible body of work, which has advanced SLA theory light-years. Teachers are out of the dark ages of traditional language learning (think grammar-translation) and we have you to thank.

  3. Dr. Krashen, I am looking for a reference for your 2015 paper co-authored by K.S. Cho - "Sustained Silent Reading: The Cure for English Fever in Korea". The link on your website appears to be broken.