Glossary of ESL Terms

Term/Acronym Spelled out/Defined
ABE Adult Basic Education
ACE Adult Continuing Education
ACTFL American Council on Teaching of Foreign Language
ALM Audiolingual Method - an approach to teaching languages which emphasizes oral repetition and drills
BICS Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills - Social language
Bilingual Proficient in two languages
CALP Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency - Academic language
CELT Comprehensive English Language Test
CLD Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Communicative Language Teaching Approach A teaching method emphasizing practical language use, comprehension, and the integration of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
Conversational English Listening comprehension and speaking skills in English
EFL English as a Foreign Language
ESL English as a Second Language
ESOL English for (or to) Speakers of Other Languages
ESP English for Specific Purposes
ESLOA English as a Second Language Oral Assessment
Functional Illiterate Any person who can not read or write well enough in a language to meet every day needs
GED General Education Development - the equivalent of a high school diploma
Grammar Translation A method of teaching languages by learning grammar rules and translating into and out of the native language.
L1 The first language someone learned; the language used at home
L2 The second or additional language someone learned or is learning
LEP Limited English Proficiency
Linguistics A science which systematically analyzes and describes a language as used by its native speakers.
LVA Literacy Volunteers of America - a national, nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to providing Basic Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages resources and training.
Competency-Based MELT Main-Stream English Language Training - a list of language competencies in 15 topic areas ranging from lowest to highest levels of difficulty. Produced by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Monolingual Proficient in only one language
Natural Approach The learning of a foreign language intuitively by using it in natural or real situations.
NFE Nonformal Education
Primary Language The language usually learned as a child; generally used for communication
Secondary Language The language learned as a second language
TEFL Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESL Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL Teachers (or Teaching) of English to Speakers of Other Languages
TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language - a standardized test of English as a foreign language. Commonly used by universities and corporations.

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