When I first started getting into teaching ESL, the amount of acronyms was overwhelming! I knew ESL stood for English as a second language, but I wondered what TESOL, ELL, and EFL stood for. As with any profession, there are abbreviations or words that only make sense to people in that field. So I’d like to provide a few explanations of acronyms for those of you who are as confused as I was when I first started in ESL.
- ELL- English language learner; Anyone learning English is referred to as an ELL.
- EFL or TEFL- (Teaching) English as a foreign language; Although ESL and EFL are often used interchangeably, they are, in fact, different. EFL is teaching or learning English in an environment where English is not spoken by the majority. So, teaching English in the US or the UK would be ESL. Teaching English in China or Costa Rica would be EFL. This is similar to learning French in high school as an American student.
- TESOL or ESOL – (Teaching) English to speakers of other languages; This refers to teaching English to anyone whose native language is not English
- TESOL, Inc.- An international, professional organization of TESOL teachers.
- TOEFL- Test of English as a foreign language; This is a common test worldwide to gauge English ability. Most universities require a TOEFL score for admittance if English is not the student’s first language. TOEFL iBT is the TOEFL internet-based test
- IEP- Intensive English program; This type of program is solely English classes focused on helping ELLs master the English language. Most IEPs are found in university settings.
- CALL- Computer assisted language learning; Language learning done through special software on the computer or online
- SLA- Second language acquisition; the process of learning a second language
- L1- first language; Example- Spanish is the L1 of someone from Colombia.
- L2- second language; Example- English is the L2 of someone from Colombia learning English.
- NNS- non-native speaker; anyone who does not speak a certain language as their first language
- ESP- English for specific purposes; this is English for certain jobs, such as English for medical professionals, English for tourism, ETC.
Hopefully these were helpful to you. I’ll try and post another set in the near future! Share on your social media site if you think you have friends that would find this useful! Thanks for reading.