Minggu, 30 Oktober 2011

EFL, 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 different native languages. 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-centred 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 also used.
Other terms used in this field include EAL (English as an additional language), EIL (English as an international language), ELF (English as a lingua franca), ESP (English for special purposes, or English for specific purposes), 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).


The many
acronyms and abbreviations used in the field of English teaching and learning may be confusing. English is a language which has great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world under many different circumstances. In English-speaking countries, English language teaching is 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.

Terminology and types

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 organisation 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 Anglosphere. 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, in order to clarify English is not the students' first language, but their second or third.[3]
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 James Crawford of the Institute for Language and Education Policy 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 with ESL as ESL/ESD.

[] Umbrella terms

All these ways of denoting the teaching of English can be bundled together into an umbrella term. Unfortunately, all the English teachers in the world cannot agree on just one. The term TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) is used in American English to include both TEFL and TESL. This is also the case in Canada. British English uses ELT (English language teaching), because TESOL has a different, more specific meaning; see above.

[] Systems of simplified English

For international communication several models of "simplified English" have been suggested or developed, among them:

[ 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. Another example will be Spanish, because a lot of the words that come from this language are written in the same way though pronounced differently. 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').
Some students may have very different cultural perceptions in the classroom as far as learning a second language is concerned. Also, cultural differences in communication styles and preferences are significant. For example, a study looked at Chinese ESL students and British teachers and found that the Chinese learners did not see classroom discussion and interaction as important but placed a heavy emphasis on teacher-directed lectures.[9][10]

[] Pronunciation

  • Consonant phonemes
English does not have more individual consonant sounds than most languages. However, the interdentals, /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 [ɹ] and [l]. Speakers of Xiang Chinese may have a similar difficulty distinguishing [n] and [l]. The distinction between [b] and [v] can cause difficulty for native speakers of Spanish, Arabic, 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.[citation needed][dubious ] 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 overpronounce 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 world's 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 non-native speakers.
"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].

[] Grammar

  • Tense, aspect, and mood - English has a relatively large number of tense–aspect–mood forms 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 auxiliary verbs. 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 language 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 favor", not "make a favor".
  • Articles - English has an appreciable number of articles, including the "the" definite article and the "a, an" indefinite article. At times English nouns can or indeed must be used without an article; this is called the zero article. 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.

[] Vocabulary

  • 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 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.
  • Collocations - Collocations in English refer to the tendency for words to occur regularly with others. For example, nouns and verbs that go together (ride a bike/ drive a car). Native speakers tend to use chunks of collocations and the ESL learners make mistakes with collocations in their writing/speaking which sometimes results in awkwardness.
  • Slang and Colloquialisms In most native English speaking countries, large numbers of slang and colloquial terms are used in everyday speech. Many learners may find that classroom based English is significantly different from how English is spoken in normal situations. This can often be difficult and confusing for learners with little experience of using English in Anglophone countries. Also, slang terms differ greatly between different regions and can change quickly in response to popular culture. Some phrases can become unintentionally rude if misused.

[] 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: probably the biggest difficulty for non-native speakers since English spelling doesn't follow the alphabetic principle consistently. 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 (mainly from Danish, Norman French, Classical Latin and Greek) with different and overlapping spelling patterns,[11] 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. 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 mislearn the pronunciation. However, despite the variety of spelling patterns in English, there are dozens of rules that are 75% or more reliable.[12]

[] Varieties of English

Teaching English therefore involves not only helping the student to use the form of English most suitable for his purposes, but also exposure to regional forms and cultural styles so that the student will be able to discern meaning even when the words, grammar or pronunciation are different to the form of English he is being taught to speak.

[] Exams for learners

Learners of English are often keen to get accreditation and a number of exams are known internationally:[13]
  • University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations offers a suite of eighteen globally available examinations including General English: Key English Test (KET), Preliminary English Test (PET), First Certificate in English (FCE), Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).
  • Trinity College London ESOL offers Integrated Skills in English (ISE), series of 5 exams, which assesses Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening accepted by academic institutions in the UK. They also offer Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE), series of 12 exams, which assesses Speaking and Listening and ESOL Skills for Life and ESOL for Work exams in the UK only.
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System), accepted by academic institutions in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and by many in the USA.
  • London Tests of English from Pearson Language Tests, a series of six exams each mapped to a level from the Common European Framework (CEFR- see below)
  • Secondary Level English Proficiency test
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), a Pearson product, measure Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening as well as Grammar, Oral Fluency, Pronunciation, Spelling, Vocabular and Written Discourse. The test is computer-based and is designed to reflect international English for academic admission into any university requiring English proficiency.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), an Educational Testing Service product, developed and used primarily for academic institutions in the USA, and now widely accepted in tertiary institutions in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and Ireland. The current test is an Internet-based test, and is thus known as the TOEFL iBT. Used as a proxy for English for Academic Purposes.
  • TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), an Educational Testing Service product for Business English used by 10,000 organizations in 120 countries. Includes a Listening & Reading test as well as a Speaking & Writing test introduced in selected countries beginning in 2006.
  • Workplace English Test Programs (ENERGIZERS), ENERGIZERS Workplace English is a combination of employee English training and testing plus business English communication. Current assessment instruments and testing programs include three radically innovative business English as a second language tests (spoken English) and certificates: Business English Test - Gateway (A1/A2), Higher (B1, B2), Pro (C1/C2). Successful candidates are awarded Certificates (Honors/Pass) which may be useful for: Business, Education, Hiring, Career Advancement. HR departments around the world have decided on Business English Tests (BET) to select, place, monitor progress and motivate personnel because BET tests are: Professional & Authentic (HR tool research & evidence-based, designed, developed and administered by ENERGIZERS, a truly global advisory boutique & market leader in expert HR, home to FULBRIGHT Scholars and faculty from top-ranked universities in the US & EU), Energizing & Candidate-Friendly (Boosting skills & confidence), Valid (Performance on the measure is related to what the measure is designed to assess), Reliable (Measurement is free from random error; tests generating consistent results) and available On Demand (Whenever & wherever required).
Many countries also have their own exams. ESOL learners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland usually take the national Skills for Life qualifications, which are offered by several exam boards. EFL learners in China may take the College English Test. In Greece English students may take the PALSO (PanHellenic Association of Language School Owners) exams.


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