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English Language Teachers - Do You Know These ELT Industry - Related Acronyms?

By Larry M. Lynch

English Language Teaching Professionals Need to Understand

ELT, EAP, EGP, L1, MT, NNL, TESOL, TBE, LEP, and SLAM- Do you know what these commonly-used English language teaching and learning acronyms happen to stand for? In order to be able to read and comprehend many articles, publications and presentations relating to the teaching of English as a foreign or second language, you need to be aware of these and other frequently-used industry acronyms. 

ELT - English Language Teacher/ing

EAP - English for Academic Purposes (such as in a trade school or university)

EFL - English as a Foreign Language (in locations where English has no official status)  

EGP - English for General Purposes (also known as conversational English in some areas)  

EIL - English as an International Language (Includes PoliceSpeak, Seaspeak, techno-speak and Airspeak)  

EOP - English for Occupational / Other Purposes (English for work or non-academic use)  

ESP - English for Special / Specific Purposes (specialized English and vocabulary)  

EST - English as a Second Tongue (in locations where English has official status and use)  

LEP - Limited English Proficiency (low-level English speakers who may have extensive English class study time with little improvement)  

SLAM - Second Language Acquisition Methodology (refers to the teaching and learning of foreign languages other than English, i.e. non-TESOL applications)  

How About These ELT Acronyms?  

L1 - first language (or Mother Tongue)  

L2 - Second language  

L3 - third language  

MT - Mother Tongue (or First language)  

NNL - Non-Native language  

TEFL - Teaching of English as a Foreign Language  

TEIL - Teaching of English as an International Language  

TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language  

TESOL - Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages  

TBE - Teaching of Business English (to companies and executives or employees)  

There Are Some Others  

On occasion additional ELT industry-related acronyms are used. These presented here are some of the most frequently-encountered ones. Familiarity with these will aid your comprehension of a variety of English-teaching and foreign language teaching related texts. Next time you need to decipher a trade or technical journal article on an English language teaching and learning topic, knowing these acronyms can help to save you from a headache due to incomprehensible input.



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