We’ve had a few listeners ask about the acronyms (abbreviations) ESL and EFL, so I thought I would talk about them briefly. Different countries and organizations use these terms differently, but I’ll tell you how they are generally used.
First, what do ESL and EFL stand for?
ESL = English as a Second Language
EFL = English as a Foreign Language
ESL is a general term used to describe anything related to learning English when English is not the learner’s first or native language. In the U.S., this term is used for people who were born in the U.S. but speak another language at home, or for people who move to the U.S. to study or live. For instance, you will find ESL students, ESL classes, ESL teachers, and ESL books.
EFL is generally used to describe anything related to learning English in a place where English is not spoken by the general public or by the people on the street. Many of our listeners outside of the U.S. are EFL students, studying in EFL classes that are taught by EFL teachers.
Even though it’s useful to sometimes make this distinction (difference) between ESL and EFL, many people use the term ESL for all situations, no matter where the language is being learned. That’s how we are using it here at ESL Podcast. The podcast is for English learners everywhere, no matter where you are.
So, here’s a shout out (informal “hello”) to all of our listeners, especially those in outer space.