Natural Order hypothesis

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Stephen Krashen's Natural Order hypothesis is part of his theory of second language acquisition.[1] It states that "we acquire the rules of language in a predictable order, some rules tending to come early and others late. The order does not appear to be determined solely by formal simplicity and there is evidence that it is independent of the order in which rules are taught in language classes." (1982)[2] This process is assumed to be largely unconcious.

Consequently, students' L2 performance in expressing thought, communicating with others and understanding what others are saying corresponds more to natural orders of development than to the formal gramatical instruction in the classroom. Indeed, more traditional language tasks such as grammar tests, gap-filling exercises and translation which may actually be in conflict with what they have acquired unconsciously.

This hypothesis leads to the second hypothesis, the acquisition-learning hypothesis.


  1. Schütz, Ricardo. "Stephen Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition." English Made in Brazil
  2. Krashen, S. 1982: Principles and practice in second language acquisition. London: Pergamon.