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ESL Acronyms and Abbreviations

Top ESL Acronyms

Below is a list of ESL acronyms and abbreviations useful for ESL and EFL teachers. 

Just as with any profession, teaching English as a Second  Language or Foreign Language has its own vocabulary, terms, expressions, abbreviations and acronyms. 

Most Common Acronyms

ESL Acronym or Word
Definition
Notes
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. See Differences between EFL and ESL.
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 Language 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 -


Other ESL Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms

ESL Acronym or Word
Definition
Notes
CALL Computer Assisted Language Learning -
CELTA Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults Also called Cambridge CELTA. CELTA course locations are all over the world. Compare to CTESOL.
CELTYL Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners -
CTESOL Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Compare to CELTA.
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 -
VESL Vocational English as a Second Language -


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