Talk:English as a second language

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Angela, I think I disagree with this change. I've never heard the phrase English As An Additional Language. I think English As A Second Language/ESL is the standard. What are your thoughts? --

Sorry, perhaps I should have said before making the change. The term ESL is practically never used here anymore, certainly not in any official documents, and we are meant to be using British English (although I'm not sure I agree with that policy). Anyway, ESL is quite often going to be factually wrong. Why assume English is the second language when it may be the third or fourth? Is ESL really still used elsewhere? Canada, Brazil etc? Angela
In Canada, the standard is now EAL, as you say. ESL is really only used as an official term in the US, and that is not our main audience here, so, I support the change.

I just saw in the article English the change to "Many people find it useful to learn English to communicate with people from other counties. We say that these people are learning English as an additional Language." -- this does seem more natural/correct to me.

"The term ESL is practically never used here anymore" -- "Here" is "England"?

Err, avoid "here" in articles!
I didn't say it in an article, but I said it on the talk page, which I should also avoid. Yes, my "here" is England. Angela

"Why assume English is the second language when it may be the third or fourth?" -- Of course; "ESL" has just been the traditional phrase.

"Is ESL really still used elsewhere? Canada, Brazil etc?" -- Good question. It's still very common in the USA. Don't know about Canada. As far as I can tell, neither English As A Second Language nor English As An Additional Language (or the equivalents in Portuguese) is common in Brazil --

I'm English, and have never heard the phrase "additional language". I've always heard people use ESL. -- Tango

Me too until recently. But now I see it everywhere.
ESOL - English for Speakers of Other Languages, is now the term used by Cambridge University. Perhaps it is more appropriate.
ESL is still common informally, but I think it's usage is dying out as all official things, like the guidelines for the administration of the statutory assessments in England for example, now refer only to EAL, never to ESL.

Probably because every english expect that we necessarily take english as first foreign language :-)

Right. It is a biased term. It assumes that everyone non-native will learn English before say French or Chinese. ESL has an EPOV. See EPOV issues.

Are you implying the english are arrogant? If so, you could have a point. Additional language is by far the better term, but i don't think it is the most commonly used. -- Tango

I think honestly that it is no big deal, but in truth, a not quite ridiculous number or french learn spanish or italian, or german before english.
So we redirect the biased term to an article named for the unbiased term, as always. And explain this issue there.
I agree. EAL is in terms of NPOV far more appropriate. Angela
ESL is not a biased term. You're all taking it out of context. Not everyone is assuming people are learning English second as opposed to third or fourth or sixteenth.
First of all, most people never learn more than two languages. That would be true even if they spoke FSL or RSL or ASL. Secondly, even if I spoke ten languages, I would consider any new one I learned to be a "second" language - that is, not first. Just like we buy a second-hand car, even if we're the fifth owner.
So now people who use the term in context get prejudged for being biased or arrogant, the same as with all politically correct prejudice.

"mathematics (is) the language most useful to comprehend the natural world" -- Mathematics is not a language in the usual sense of the term, and I think definitely not in any sense useful to EAL users. I think we should remove this reference from the page OR make a new paragraph further down the page on expanded senses of the term "language", such as "the language of clothing", "language of interior design", "language of mathematics", etc. -- Comments? --

"Friends of America"[change source]

This debate probably belongs on another page besides this one. It is a broader problem. However, do people think it is OK to use the words "friends of America" when talking about countries that also use TOEFL. Does this not imply that countries that do not use TOEFL are not friends of America? Are there not political problems with this usage?

Simple English[change source]

This article smacks of absurdity for a simple English wiki. Dry, complex, and in my view irrelevant. Who, after all, when reading the simple English wikipedia as a simple English reader, will read this, I wonder, as opposed to dipping into the "main" English wikipedia. A serious VfD candidate.

Learners and teachers need different information[change source]


Disclosure up front, I have taught ESL in the United States and currently teach EFL in Japan. I have worked briefly as a volunteer teacher-trainer in Thailand and Laos.

Despite some comments above on the uselessness or irrelevance of this page, I think this can become especially useful for Simple English Wikipedia. After all, non-native users of English are a big part of the readership.

I think it would be a good idea to have two separate articles for learners and for teachers. I suppose I could just go ahead and do that, but since there have already been some redirects and renaming, I thought I'd talk about it first.

Learners may need the following

  • Introduction
  • Basic Terminology
  • Benefits
  • Self study methods
  • School and program types
  • Tests

Teachers may need the following:

  • Introduction
  • History
  • Terminology in more detail (acronyms etc. ESL, EFL, ESOL, TESL, TEFL mention/link out to LOTE-Languages Other Than English)
  • Theory (with links out to linguistic related and language acquisition related pages)
  • Practice (summary of methodology and links to specific methodology pages)
  • Testing
  • Teacher preparation
  • Career paths
  • Influential practitioners
  • Professional organizations

There is a lot of overlap, but the two groups of readers are quite different. Going into detail regarding past movements such as the Silent Way might be useful for teachers, but bewildering for students. Likewise, an explanation of vocabulary study for learners would be too simplistic for teachers.

I'd like to suggest two separate pages: "Learning English as a Second Language" and "Teaching English as a Second Language". I'd be happy to work on these but I expect there are a few other people here with opinions too. Any comments or ideas?

Thanks, Ted O'Neill (talk) 03:20, 30 September 2010 (UTC)