ESL Acronyms and Abbreviations

“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 has essentially evolved in two broad directions: instruction for people who intend to live in an English-speaking country and for those who do not. 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,  The following technical definitions may therefore have their currency contested.” Wikipedia

EFL-English as a Foreign Language. Used when a non-native English speaker is studying English in a non-English speaking country.

ESL-English as a Second Language. Used when a non-native-English speaker is studying English in an English-speaking country.

ESOL-English for Speakers of Other Languages. This term is more recent and is intended to be a more inclusive term (includes ESL and EFL).

TEFL-Teaching English as a Foreign Language. A TEFL teacher is one who teaches English to speakers of other languages in non-native-English-speaking countries.

TESL-Teaching English as a Second Languag. A TESL teacher teaches English to speakers of other languages in an English-speaking country.

TESOL-Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages; Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. A more inclusive term for teaching EFL and ESL. The second definition is the name of a teachers’ association.

TOEFL-Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEIC-Test of English for International Communication

Additional ESL Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms

CALL-Computer Assisted Language Learning

CELTA– Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults. Also called Cambridge CELTA.

CELTYL-Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners

CTESOL-Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages University of Denver offers this certificate.

DELTA-Diploma in English Language Training to Adults

EAL-English as an Additional Language

EAP-English for Academic Purposes

ELL-English Language Learner

ELT-English Language Training or English Language Teaching

ESP-English for Specific Purposes or English for Special Purposes

FLT-Foreign Language Teaching

ICELT-In-service Certificate in English Language Teaching. For non-native English teachers already teaching English.

IEP-Intensive English Program

IPA-International Phonetic Alphabet or International Phonetic Association

L1-Language 1. Refers to the student’s first, or native language.

L2-Language 2. Refers to the new language that the student is learning.

LEP-Limited English Proficient or Limited English Proficiency

LES-Limited English Speaker

NNS-Non-Native Speaker

NS-Native Speaker

SLA-Second Language Acquisition

TPR-Total Physical Response-

A method of learning second languages, developed by Dr. James Asher, of San Jose State University.

VESL-Vocational English as a Second Language

 Source: Teaching ESL to Adults