Important Posts

Difference Between ESL, EFL, ESOL, ELL, and ESP

Difference between ESL, EFL, ESOL, ELL and ESP

When I first heard about the profession of teaching English to speakers of other languages, I heard it referred to as "ESL".

Since that time, other acronyms have been brought in, for example "EFL, ESOL and ELL" which basically get the same thing, but are used with the aim of providing more distinction between different learning environments. 


Difference Between ESL, EFL, ESOL, ELL, and ESP


What the meaning of ESL?

ESL is an acronym for "English as a Second Language" and is for learning of English in a country where English is predominantly spoken or where English is the official language. 

For example, students from non-English speaking countries who come to the United States and Canada for an extended period of time learn English as a second language. 

They acquire English as a means of communicating in the dominant language spoken in the society in which they reside. 

What the meaning of EFL?

EFL stands for "English as a Foreign Language" and teaches English as a foreign language in a non-English speaking country. 

For example, students in China who learn English are considered to be students of English as a foreign language because English is not the official language of the country. 

But if those same students in the United States are learning English, they will be considered ESL students. 


What the Meaning of ESOL?

The meaning of the initialism ESOL is "English to Speakers of Other Languages". It applies to both ESL and EFL contexts.

One reason why this term was created is because some individuals argue that when students are learning English in a native English-speaking country (ESL), these students are not necessarily learning a second language. 

It could, in fact, be a student’s third or even fourth language. English as a Second Language, then, is limiting and not fully comprehensive in its description.


What the meaning of ELL?

EFL is an acronym for "English as a Foreign Language" .This refers not to the teaching, but the content of what is taught. The coursebooks and other materials that we use in the classroom are EFL materials. 

So while TEFL usually relates to the practice of teaching and how we can be better teachers, EFL can refer to studies or research related specifically to the learner and how they learn languages. 

The two are clearly closely related. Lately though, the term ELT (English Language Teaching) is now used as an umbrella term.

What the meaning of ESP?

ESP is an acronym for "English for Special Purposes" includes students who are learning English in context of a certain field, profession, or topic.

For example, when I was teaching legal English in China, I was teaching English in context of law. 

These students were learning English in preparation for studying law through an American university where the professors were all native English speakers.



No comments
Post a Comment

    Reading Mode :
    Font Size
    lines height