1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

ESL Acronyms

By

In the English language teaching / learning world, there many acronyms that are used with teaching or learning English as a foreign or 2nd language. The site is named esl.about.com which stands for English as a 2nd language dot About.com. Officially, ESL is spoken by speakers of other languages that live and work in an English speaking country. EFL, on the other hand, is spoken by speakers of other languages using English in non-native English speaking countries. To be honest, these two acronyms are often used interchangeably. As you can notice here at the site, articles, quizzes, lesson plans and other resources are intended for both English as a 2nd language and English as a foreign language teachers and learners.

Acronym Definitions

Here are the most important acronyms in the ESL, EFL world:

ESL - English as a 2nd language / generally refers to learning English in order to live in a native English speaking country
EFL - English as a foreign Language / generally refers to learning English. While living in a non-native English speaking country
ESOL - English for speakers of other languages / the more generic term which is often preferred in academic settings
Here are some other acronyms, which are in use in the English for speakers of other languages teaching community:

EAL - English as an additional language
ELL - English language learners
ESL - English as a 2nd dialect
ESP - English for Specific Purposes or English for specific purposes
EAP - English for academic purposes

With the midst of so many people who use English to communicate with other non-native English speakers, there are two new acronyms that are gaining in popularity.

ELF - English as a lingua franca
EIL - English as an international language

In teaching, the most common acronyms include:

TESOL - Teaching English to speakers of other languages / preferred in the USA
TEFL - Teaching English as a foreign language / refers to teaching English as a foreign language (usually to those who live outside, a native English speaking country)
TESL - Teaching English as a 2nd language / refers to teaching English to speakers of other languages
ELT - English language teaching / preferred in the UK

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.