Are English as a Foreign Language and Second Language Acquisition the same? Give examples It's related to teaching and learning English in schools

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While I have seen several different terms used for people who are learning a new language, these two seem quite different and each contains its own meaning in its words. 

An English as a Second Language (ESL) student has a first "mother" tongue that is not English and is now...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

While I have seen several different terms used for people who are learning a new language, these two seem quite different and each contains its own meaning in its words. 

An English as a Second Language (ESL) student has a first "mother" tongue that is not English and is now acquiring the English language. Interestingly, this term is sometimes used quite imprecisely.  Many students who are designated as ESL students know two or more languages before they learn English, and might be more properly characterized as English as Third or Fourth Language learners.   This is particularly true of students who have been raised in a country like India, on the African continent, or in Europe. Also, while we use this term in the United States, technically, an ESL student could be in Bolivia, in an English class. 

Second Language Acquisition (SLA) is a term that refers to someone who has a mother tongue and is now learning a second language. The first language could be English and the second French.  There are not languages in particular designated in this term.  English is my native language, and as I took French in high school and college, this term could certainly have applied to me.   

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team