“English as a Second Language”. The study of English by learners for whom English is not their native language.

The term “ESL” is a blanket term for any program of language skills development or knowledge acquisition for non-native English speakers in a country where English is spoken predominantly. The term has a lot of currency among professionals and the general public, but professionals also regard it as imprecise. For example, many non-native speakers of English may already have a second language, such as indigenous learners from Mexico or Central America. As a result, many professionals prefer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). In practice, this term is very often synonymous with community-based language classes.

« Back to Glossary Index