What’s the Difference?
One of the great benefits of technology today is the ability to expose ourselves to real foreign language. Think of how hard it was, just a generation ago, for people to actually hear a foreign language. For many learners, the only option was to listen to a teacher’s repetitions. Today, however, anyone who has access to the Internet has instant access to other languages.
Researchers in second language learning have long touted (and debated) the importance of listening in a new language. There was an initial research wave that focused on simply hearing lots of samples of a foreign language. The term “input” referred to all the exposure to foreign language that is around us. However, as years went on, researchers realized that input was not enough. If the learners were not noticing or concentrating on the incoming flow of language, comprehension would be limited. So today, researchers in second language acquisition commonly make a distinction between input and intake. Simply put, input is all the written and spoken target language that a learner encounters, whether it is fully comprehended or not. Intake is limited to the comprehended input that impacts the learner’s developing linguistic system. For our purposes, we suggest that technology provides ways to
increase the foreign language input that learners are exposed to and
enhances the process of how input is converted into intake.