English as a foreign or second language

English as a foreign or second language


ESL (English as a second language), ESOL (English for speakers of other languages), and EFL (English as a foreign language) all refer to the use or study of English by speakers with a different native language. The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is described below. These terms are most commonly used in relation to teaching and learning English, but they may also be used in relation to demographic information.


ELT (English language teaching) is a widely-used teacher-centered term, as in the English language teaching divisions of large publishing houses, ELT training, etc. The abbreviations TESL (teaching English as a second language), TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) and TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) are all also used.


Other terms used in this field include EAL (English as an additional language), ESD (English as a second dialect), EIL (English as an international language), ELF (English as a lingua franca), ESP (English for special purposes, or English for Specific Purposes), and EAP (English for academic purposes). Some terms that refer to those who are learning English are ELL (English language learner), LEP (limited English proficiency) and CLD (culturally and linguistically diverse).

Terminology and types


The many acronyms used in the field of English teaching and learning may be confusing. English is a language with great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world under many different circumstances. In English-speaking countries, English language teaching has essentially evolved in two broad directions: instruction for people who intend to live in an English-speaking country and for those who don’t. These divisions have grown firmer as the instructors of these two “industries” have used different terminology, followed distinct training qualifications, formed separate professional associations, and so on. Crucially, these two arms have very different funding structures, public in the former and private in the latter, and to some extent this influences the way schools are established and classes are held. Matters are further complicated by the fact that the United States and the United Kingdom, both major engines of the language, describe these categories in different terms: as many eloquent users of the language have observed, “England and America are two countries divided by a common language.” (Attributed to Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde.) The following technical definitions may therefore have their currency contested.






English outside English-speaking countries


EFL, English as a foreign language, indicates the use of English in a non-English-speaking region. Study can occur either in the student’s home country, as part of the normal school curriculum or otherwise, or, for the more privileged minority, in an Anglophone country that they visit as a sort of educational tourist, particularly immediately before or after graduating from university. TEFL is the teaching of English as a foreign language; note that this sort of instruction can take place in any country, English-speaking or not. Typically, EFL is learned either to pass exams as a necessary part of one’s education, or for career progression while working for an organization or business with an international focus. EFL may be part of the state school curriculum in countries where English has no special status (what linguist Braj Kachru calls the “expanding circle countries”); it may also be supplemented by lessons paid for privately. Teachers of EFL generally assume that students are literate in their mother tongue. The Chinese EFL Journal [1] and Iranian EFL Journal [2] are examples of international journals dedicated to specifics of English language learning within countries where English is used as a foreign language.























English within English-speaking countries


The other broad grouping is the use of English within the Anglo sphere. In what theorist Braj Kachru calls “the inner circle”, i.e. countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, this use of English is generally by refugees, immigrants and their children. It also includes the use of English in “outer circle” countries, often former British colonies, where English is an official language even if it is not spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the population.


In the US, Canada and Australia, this use of English is called ESL (English as a second language). This term has been criticized on the grounds that many learners already speak more than one language. A counter-argument says that the word “a” in the phrase “a second language” means there is no presumption that English is the second acquired language (see also Second language). TESL is the teaching of English as a second language.


In the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, the term ESL has been replaced by ESOL (English for speakers of other languages). In these countries TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) is normally used to refer to teaching English only to this group. In the UK, the term EAL (English as an additional language), rather than ESOL, is usually used when talking about primary and secondary schools.


Other acronyms were created to describe the person rather than the language to be learned. The term LEP (Limited English proficiency) was created in 1975 by the Lau Remedies following a decision of the US Supreme Court. ELL (English Language Learner), used by United States governments and school systems, was created by Charlene Rivera of the Center for Equity and Excellence in Education in an effort to label learners positively, rather than ascribing a deficiency to them. LOTE (Languages other than English) is a parallel term used in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


Typically, this sort of English (called ESL in the United States, Canada, and Australia, ESOL in the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand) is learned to function in the new host country, e.g. within the school system (if a child), to find and hold down a job (if an adult), to perform the necessities of daily life. The teaching of it does not presuppose literacy in the mother tongue. It is usually paid for by the host government to help newcomers settle into their adopted country, sometimes as part of an explicit citizenship program. It is technically possible for ESL to be taught not in the host country, but in, for example, a refugee camp, as part of a pre-departure program sponsored by the government soon to receive new potential citizens. In practice, however, this is extremely rare.


Particularly in Canada and Australia, the term ESD (English as a second dialect) is used alongside ESL, usually in reference to programs for Canadian First Nations people or indigenous Australians, respectively.[4] It refers to the use of standard English, which may need to be explicitly taught, by speakers of a Creole or non-standard variety. It is often grouped witFrankly speaking, it is highly essential to know the language for communication. In general, the most popular language is English. In this computer age, English is the only language that any one can understand. So to say, it has become as an ideal language for expressing our feelings. First, we have to learn the language and then we have to gain fluency in the language. Unless we have the fluency in English language, it would not be possible to work with the computer. If you do not know English, then you would be in need of a translator to do the job.


The first stage of learning this language would be very interesting. Once you are fluent with the alphabets, slowly you can learn many words. It would always be better to follow the method of reading first, then writing. You can use the picture books for this purpose. When you feel that you are familiar with the words, you can form sentences. This is the most interesting stage to learn. You just think of a sentence in your mother language, and try to write the same sentence in English. There could be some mistakes. But you should not bother about it. But, you have to write the same sentence using many different words till you are satisfied with your sentence. If you follow this way, very soon you can create sentences of your own.


The next step is learning the grammar of the language. It is quite simple and very systematic compared with other languages. There are certain rules and regulations for each and every topic in grammar of this language. As long as you follow the rules and regulations, it would be a difficult task to make mistakes. You would gain that much guidance from the grammar.

The presentation is the most important factor in communicating your feelings. So, naturally you must be sure while you are presenting. what you really wish to say. At any point, do not try to write or speak, beyond your capability. Even if it is a small and simple sentence, it would reach the receiver perfectly. This is our basic idea. Slowly, you can improve the standard of your language by practice. If you know to form the sentences, it is more than enough to go deep into the subject. Though this only an article about the importance of the English Language, we have to learn some of the basic points in presenting the sentences.

There are three different types of sentences: They are,

1. Statements. 2. Interrogative sentence. 3. Imperative sentence. 4. Exclamatory sentence. To begin with, you must know the difference between a phrase and a sentence.


Phrase is a group of words, which gives meaning, but not complete meaning.

A sentence is a group of words, which makes a complete sense. 1. Statement: The sentence starting with nouns or pronouns is known as statement. Example: Rome is a church city. 2. Interrogative sentence: There are two types of interrogative sentences. a. “wh” type question. The sentences starting with the following fords are “wh” type question. What, When, Where, Who, How many, How long and etcetera.

Example: Why did you come late? 2. What are you doing there? b. “yes or no” type question. For which sentences you get the reply either with yes or no they are called yes or no type question.

Example: Is your father a doctor? The answer: No sir. 3. Imperative sentence: The sentence that gives command, request, and advice is known as Imperative sentence. Example: Walk on the pavement. 2. Eat regularly. 4. Exclamatory sentence: The sentence that expresses the sudden feelings or strong emotions is known as exclamatory sentence. Example: Alas! He is dead. 2. Oh! What a beautiful sight.


When you are familiar with the above points, it would be very interesting to you to create many wonderful sentences.

In general, the sentences are divided into three different kinds. They are,

1. Simple sentence. 2. Compound sentence. 3. Complex sentence.


Though it very essential to have knowledge in handling the above sentences, we have to study them separately. In this essay, we are talking about the importance of the language.

Many people make mistakes even with the usage of articles. It is a pity that even scholars may make mistakes. So, you should not get dejected with your style of writing.


There is a lot of difference between these two. 1. a few 2. few

When you want to say that you have friends, you have to say that,” I have a few friends.”

When you want to say that you do not have friends, you have to say that, “I have few friends.”


This is the opposite meaning of the word, many.

Apart from these, there are many points to be discussed later.

When you feel that you are already strong on the above subjects, you can develop your knowledge for betterment of your knowledge. As long as you educate yourself, you will come across many new things. There is no end for learning. All the above points are used in the normal usage of English. The literature value of the English Language is entirely different and should be dealt separately.






















Difficulties for learners


Language teaching practice often assumes that most of the difficulties that learners face in the study of English are a consequence of the degree to which their native language differs from English (a contrastive analysis approach). A native speaker of Chinese, for example, may face many more difficulties than a native speaker of German, because German is closely related to English, whereas Chinese is not. This may be true for anyone of any mother tongue (also called first language, normally abbreviated L1) setting out to learn any other language (called a target language, second language or L2). See also second language acquisition (SLA) for mixed evidence from linguistic research.


Language learners often produce errors of syntax and pronunciation thought to result from the influence of their L1, such as mapping its grammatical patterns inappropriately onto the L2, pronouncing certain sounds incorrectly or with difficulty, and confusing items of vocabulary known as false friends. This is known as L1 transfer or “language interference”. However, these transfer effects are typically stronger for beginners’ language production, and SLA research has highlighted many errors which cannot be attributed to the L1, as they are attested in learners of many language backgrounds (for example, failure to apply 3rd person present singular -s to verbs, as in ‘he make’).


While English is no more complex than other languages, it has several features which may create difficulties for learners. Conversely, because such a large number of people are studying it, products have been developed to help them do so, such as the monolingual learner’s dictionary, which is written with a restricted defining vocabulary.




Consonant phonemes


English does not have more individual consonant sounds than most languages. However, the interdentally, /θ/ and /ð/ (the sounds written with th), which are common in English (thin, thing, etc.; and the, this, that, etc.) are relatively rare in other languages, even others in the Germanic family (e.g., English thousand = German tausend), and these sounds are missing even in some English dialects. Some learners substitute a [t] or [d] sound, while others shift to [s] or [z], [f] or [v] and even [ts] or [dz]).

Speakers of Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Thai may have difficulty distinguishing [r] and [l]. The distinction between [b] and [v] can cause difficulty for native speakers of Spanish, Japanese and Korean.


Vowel phonemes


The precise number of distinct vowel sounds depends on the variety of English: for example, Received Pronunciation has twelve monophthongs (single or “pure” vowels), eight diphthongs (double vowels) and two triphthongs (triple vowels); whereas General American has thirteen monophthongs and three diphthongs. Many learners, such as speakers of Spanish, Japanese or Arabic, have fewer vowels, or only pure ones, in their mother tongue and so may have problems both with hearing and with pronouncing these distinctions.


Syllable structure


In its syllable structure, English allows for a cluster of up to three consonants before the vowel and four after it (e.g., straw, desks, glimpsed). The syllable structure causes problems for speakers of many other languages. Japanese, for example, broadly alternates consonant and vowel sounds so learners from Japan often try to force vowels in between the consonants (e.g., desks /desks/ becomes “desukusu” or milk shake /mɪlk ʃeɪk/ becomes “mirukushēku”).

Learners from languages where all words end in vowels sometimes tend to make all English words end in vowels, thus make /meɪk/ can come out as [meɪkə]. The learner’s task is further complicated by the fact that native speakers may drop consonants in the more complex blends (e.g., [mʌns] instead of [mʌnθs] for months).

Unstressed vowels – Native English speakers frequently replace almost any vowel in an unstressed syllable with an unstressed vowel, often schwa. For example, from has a distinctly pronounced short ‘o’ sound when it is stressed (e.g., Where are you from?), but when it is unstressed, the short ‘o’ reduces to a schwa (e.g., I’m from London.). In some cases, unstressed vowels may disappear altogether, in words such as chocolate (which has four syllables in Spanish, but only two as pronounced by Americans: “choc-lit”.)

Stress in English more strongly determines vowel quality than it does in most other world languages (although there are notable exceptions such as Russian). For example, in some varieties the syllables an, en, in, on and un are pronounced as homophones, that is, exactly alike. Native speakers can usually distinguish an able, enable, and unable because of their position in a sentence, but this is more difficult for inexperienced English speakers. Moreover, learners tend to over pronounce these unstressed vowels, giving their speech an unnatural rhythm.

Stress timing – English tends to be a stress-timed language – this means that stressed syllables are roughly equidistant in time, no matter how many syllables come in between. Although some other languages, e.g., German and Russian, are also stress-timed, most of the worlds other major languages are syllable-timed, with each syllable coming at an equal time after the previous one. Learners from these languages often have a staccato rhythm when speaking English that is disconcerting to a native speaker.

“Stress for emphasis” – students’ own languages may not use stress for emphasis as English does.

“Stress for contrast” – stressing the right word or expression. This may not come easily to some nationalities.

“Emphatic apologies” – the normally unstressed auxiliary is stressed (I really am very sorry)

In English there are quite a number of words – about fifty – that have two different pronunciations, depending on whether they are stressed. They are “grammatical words”: pronouns, prepositions, auxiliary verbs and conjunctions. Most students tend to overuse the strong form, which is pronounced with the written vowel.

Connected speech

Phonological processes such as assimilation, elision and epenthesis together with indistinct word boundaries can confuse learners when listening to natural spoken English, as well as making their speech sound too formal if they do not use them. For example, in RP eight beetles and three ants /eɪt biːtəlz ənd θriː ænts/ becomes [eɪtbiːtl̩znθɹiːjæns].




Tenses – English has a relatively large number of tenses with some quite subtle differences, such as the difference between the simple past “I ate” and the present perfect “I have eaten.” Progressive and perfect progressive forms add complexity. (See English verbs.)

Functions of auxiliaries – Learners of English tend to find it difficult to manipulate the various ways in which English uses the first auxiliary verb of a tense. These include negation (e.g. He hasn’t been drinking.), inversion with the subject to form a question (e.g. Has he been drinking?), short answers (e.g. Yes, he has.) and tag questions (has he?). A further complication is that the dummy auxiliary verb do /does /did is added to fulfil these functions in the simple present and simple past, but not for the verb to be.

Modal verbs – English also has a significant number of modal auxiliary verbs which each have a number of uses. For example, the opposite of “You must be here at 8” (obligation) is usually “You don’t have to be here at 8” (lack of obligation, choice), while “must” in “You must not drink the water” (prohibition) has a different meaning from “must” in “You must not be a native speaker” (deduction). This complexity takes considerable work for most English languge learners to master.

Idiomatic usage – English is reputed to have a relatively high degree of idiomatic usage. For example, the use of different main verb forms in such apparently parallel constructions as “try to learn”, “help learn”, and “avoid learning” pose difficulty for learners. Another example is the idiomatic distinction between “make” and “do”: “make a mistake”, not “do a mistake”; and “do a favour”, not “make a favour”.

Articles – English has an appreciable number of articles, including the definite article the, and the indefinite article a, an. At times English nouns can or indeed must be used without an article; this is called the zero articles. Some of the differences between definite, indefinite and zero article are fairly easy to learn, but others are not, particularly since a learner’s native language may lack articles or use them in different ways than English does. Although the information conveyed by articles is rarely essential for communication, English uses them frequently (several times in the average sentence), so that they require some effort from the learner.




Phrasal verbs – Phrasal verbs in English can cause difficulties for many learners because they have several meanings and different syntactic patterns. There are also a number of phrasal verb differences between American and British English.

Word derivation – Word derivation in English requires a lot of rote learning. For example, an adjective can be negated by using the prefix un- (e.g. unable), in- (e.g. inappropriate), dis- (e.g. dishonest), or a- (e.g. amoral), or through the use of one of a myriad of related but rarer prefixes, all modified versions of the first four.

Size of lexicon – The history of English has resulted in a very large vocabulary, essentially one stream from Old English and one from the Norman infusion of Latin-derived terms. (Schmitt & Marsden claim that English has one of the largest vocabularies of any known language.) This inevitably requires more work for a learner to master the language.































Differences between spoken and written English


As with most languages, written language tends to use a more formal register than spoken language. The acquisition of literacy takes significant effort in English.

Spelling – Because of the many changes in pronunciation which have occurred since a written standard developed, the retention of many historical idiosyncrasies in spelling, and the large influx of foreign words (from Danish, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek) with different and overlapping spelling patterns,[9] English spelling is difficult even for native speakers to master. This difficulty is shown in such activities as spelling bees that generally require the memorization of words. English speakers may also rely on computer tools such as spell checkers more than speakers of other languages, as the users of the utility may have forgotten, or never learned, the correct spelling of a word. The generalizations that exist are quite complex and there are many exceptions leading to a considerable amount of rote learning. The spelling system causes problems in both directions – a learner may know a word by sound but not be able to write it correctly (or indeed find it in a dictionary), or they may see a word written but not know how to pronounce it or mishear the pronunciation. However, despite the variety of spelling patterns in English, there are dozens of rules that are 75% or more reliable.[10]

For further discussion of English spelling patterns and rules, see Phonics.





















An Overview of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)


By Dr. Alexandra Rowe with acknowledgment to Lish Simpson, M.A., University of South Carolina


1.0  What is CLT?



CLT is a language teaching approach based on the linguistic theory of communicative competence.  Developing communicative competence in learners is the goal of CLT.  CLT emphasizes “humanism,” which focuses on students’ needs and individual affective factors; advocates several language-learning principles, as opposed to an articulated learning theory; and draws from several language teaching methods.  Therefore, CLT is an approach rather than a method of English language teaching (ELT).


2.0 Where did CLT originate and why is it so popular?


CLT was developed in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s and popularized by the British Council and the Council of Europe.  CLT was a reaction to language teaching methods that seemed ineffective (e.g., grammar/translation [GT], audio-lingual method [ALM]) in developing learners “who can communicate both orally and in writing with native speakers in a way appropriate to their mutual needs”  (Ellis, p. 214). English has become the international language of commerce, science, and technology.  As a result, many people around the world are now experiencing “English fever,” which is a great desire to learn English, especially how to engage in conversation in English.


3.0 What are the features of CLT?


3.1 Focus on negotiation of meaning and meaningful communication (rather than linguistic structures)

3.2 Focus on active learning and active learners (collaboration among learners and purposeful interactions)

3.3 Focus on the affective domain of the classroom and creating a language-learning environment that supports risk-taking by the learners, i.e., a community of learners

3.4 Focus on “whole learner,” i.e., learner with his/her own learning style + person with emotions and individual needs

3.5 Focus on teachers as facilitators

3.6 Use of “authentic” materials, i.e., materials aimed at native English speakers rather than ESL learners, and regalia, i.e., real objects from a native-English speaking culture, such as an advertisement

3.7 Use of a variety of strategies, which address different learning styles and language skills

3.8 Tolerance for errors

3.9 Teaching of target language culture(s) to accompany language teaching


4.0 What are some common misconceptions regarding CLT?


4.1 CLT does not teach grammar.


It was Stephen Krashen, not CLT advocates, who spoke against explicit grammar teaching.  Dr. Krashen’s second language acquisition (SLA) theory, the Monitor Model, inspired the development of the Natural Approach and Focal Skills in ELT.  CLT advocates urge that grammar be taught inductively (guiding students to discover the rules themselves, as in linguistics data problems) rather than deductively (the teaching of rules).  However, because adult learners possess analytical skills, they sometimes demand and often benefit from explicit grammar teaching.  Grammatical analysis and drills do not dominate CLT classrooms because CLT teachers realize that learners learn more by using the language than by learning about the language.


4.2 CLT teaches only speaking.


CLT is based on the linguistic theory of communicative competence, which includes more than just negotiating meaning through oral interaction alone.  Communicative competence includes the following components: grammatical competence, psychomotor (pronunciation) competence, lexical (vocabulary) competence, discourse (overall organization of an oral or written utterance, coherence or unity of topic, and cohesion or sentence-to-sentence fluency) competence, strategic (overall fluency and linguistic spontaneity) competence, sociolinguistic (cross-cultural awareness) competence, and pragmatic (culturally appropriate rhetoric and paralinguistic behaviors) competence.


4.3 CLT uses only pair work and/or group work in the classroom.


CLT teachers tend to use a lot of pair work and group work in the classroom in order to highlight the interact ional nature of real language.  However, individual work is also a part of a CLT classroom.


4.4 CLT uses only English in the classroom.


The CLT teacher does not hesitate to use the learners’ native language to expedite learning.  Usually such native language use is limited to clarifying a vocabulary item or a complex grammatical structure.


4.5 CLT encourages fossilization in learners.


CLT teachers tolerate errors, but they are aware that developing communicative competence includes learners’ developing inter languages, or learners’ own understanding of how the language works, which is often flawed until learners develop a higher proficiency level of their interlanguages.  CLT teachers look for patterns of errors in a learner, rather than all the mistakes and the CLT teachers correct the patterns.  CLT teachers do not focus on accuracy at the expense of fluency or communicativeness.  CLT teachers aim first for fluency, then for accuracy.


5.0 What are some barriers to CLT?


5.1 High English language proficiency required of teachers

5.2 Test preparation required of teachers/ use of national, regional, and/or local non-communicative tests

5.3 Large class sizes (e.g., 50-60 students in a single class) for one teacher to handle

5.4 Fixed furniture, physically small classroom

5.5 Lack of teacher training in effective CLT strategies

5.6 Lack of practice among teachers in using effective CLT strategies

5.7 Expected classroom behavior among teachers and students in certain cultures

5.8 Much time on the part of the teacher needed for preparing effective CLT activities

5.9 Much time required in the classroom for implementing effective CLT activities





























GTM & its importance on learning English:



            GTM is usually known as the Grammar Translation Method. As the names of some of its leading exponents suggest (Johann Seidensticker, Karl Plotz, H. S. Ollendorf, and Johann Meidinger), Grammar Translation was the offspring of grammar scholarship, the object of which, according to one of its less charitable critics, was “to know everything about something rather than the thing itself” (W. H. D. Rouse, quoted in Kelly 1969: 53). Grammar Translation was in fact first known in the United States as the Prussian Method. (A book by B. Sears an American classics teacher, published 1845 was titled The Ciceronian or the Prussian method of Teaching the Elements of the Latin Language [Kelly 1969].)

            Grammar Translation Method dominated European and foreign language teaching from the1840s to the 1940s, and in modified form it continues to be widely used in some parts of the world today. At its best as Howatt (1984) points out, it was not necessarily the horror that critics depicted it as. Its worst excesses were introduced by those who wanted to demonstrate that the study of French or German was no less rigorous than the study of classical languages. This resulted in the type of Grammar Translation courses remembered 


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