Noticing hypothesis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The noticing hypothesis is a concept in second-language acquisition proposed by Richard Schmidt in 1990. He stated that learners cannot learn the grammatical features of a language unless they notice them.[1] Noticing alone does not mean that learners automatically acquire language; rather, the hypothesis states that noticing is the essential starting point for acquisition. There is debate over whether learners must consciously notice something, or whether the noticing can be subconscious to some degree.[2]


The noticing hypothesis has received criticism from John Truscott, on two grounds. First, he argues that the basis for the noticing hypothesis in cognitive psychology is unclear. Second, he argues that there is even less certainty over how to interpret the noticing hypothesis in the field of language acquisition. He says that, "[p]artly because the hypothesis is not based on any coherent theory of language, it is very difficult to determine exactly what it means in this context, or to draw testable predictions from it."[3] Truscott argues that the noticing hypothesis should be limited to describing metalinguistic knowledge and not overall language competence.[3]


  1. ^ H.S. Venkatagiri, John M. Levis "Phonological Awareness and Speech Comprehensibility: An Exploratory Study" Language Awareness. Vol. 16, Iss. 4, 2009
  2. ^ Lightbown, P.-M. and Spada, N.(2006). Explaining second language learning. How Languages are Learned p. 29-50, p. 44f.
  3. ^ a b Truscott, John (1998). "Noticing in second language acquisition: a critical review" (PDF). Second Language Research. 14 (2): 103–135. Retrieved 29 October 2012.