By Jimmy Cathey
So many programs, so few letters to describe them. What’s it all mean? In the world of English language learning, you have EAP, ESL, EFL, EIL, SLA, SLL. Wow! What the L is going on!? So many acronyms, so few letters. Let’s make sense of this English learning alphabet soup before we get lost in the sauce.
In Second Language Learning, (SLL), there are different methods to help you reach your language fluency goal. Whether your goal is fluency at a conversational level, English for Academic (EAP) Purpose or business English, there is a program available for you. This post will help you make sense of the main programs of study available to students of all ages.
SLL – Second Language Learning
it’s all about learning a second language. There are a variety of different ways to learn a second language. Some people learn when they speak and listen to family members from ‘the old country’. Some learn on the job, others learn in a classroom setting or through some combination of classes and in the community. For the most part the goal is to gain a level of fluency. Second language learning is a process that can incorporate different methods and strategies which help you to meet your language fluency goal.
There are many reasons why people decide to learn English. Many learn for academic reasons. They what to attain a skill level necessary to pursue a program of study at a university in an English speaking country. This is the EAP of it all which we will discuss in detail later. For now, we will lay the groundwork for the variety of methods and strategies available to become fluent.
SLA – Second Language Acquisition
How do you learn a second language? Do you learn when you take a trip to a country to study their language? Online courses? Do you take formal classes or some combination of classes and online courses? Do you only depend on social media to be your teacher and tutor? SLA is about how you access a second language. Do you watch movies or TV programs and try to memorize the dialogue?
In the next series of articles, we will begin to peel back the layers and explore the differences and similarities between programs of study. For example, is there a difference between English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a foreign Language (EFL)? Where does English as an International Language (EIL) fit into the overall scheme? The nuts and bolts of the similarities and differences can help you get a better grasp on the influence and importance of second language learning.
Learning a foreign language takes time and practice. It is obvious when you listen to musicians who put in long hours of practice. The classical pianist might have studied some of the masters from the 18th century to learn various techniques. On the other hand, a great blues guitarist might have focused on the blues masters from the early 20th century America. In the final analysis both study and practice to become masters. Learning a second is no different. It takes practice. Moving forward, the goal is to answer some of the questions about which program is best for your language learning goals.
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