Double-click any word on this page to check its definition and pronunciation in a dictionary.

ESL

['i: 'es 'el] = /ˈi: ˈes ˈel/

ESL means “English as a second language”. People usually use the word ESL to talk about teaching English to people who do not speak English. Usually, ESL teaching happens in an English-speaking country. Often, ESL students are people who came to live in an English-speaking country, and do not speak English very well.

If we talk about teaching or learning English in a country where English is not spoken, we usually use the word “EFL”, but “ESL” is sometimes used, too.

Here are some example phrases with the word ESL:

  • an ESL website
  • Laura is an excellent ESL student.
  • Most ESL teachers are native speakers.
  • Paul goes to an advanced ESL class.
  • The book is full of boring ESL quizzes and activities.
  • He was reading an ESL magazine.