TEFL Glossary

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First Certificate in English

See FCE.

first language acquisition

See acquisition.


Fluency in language is the ability to communicate freely and confidently. A fluent speaker is not necessarily accurate.

See accuracy.

fluency-based activities

Classroom (or homework) activities whose main focus is on using the language to communicate effectively and confidently.  Compare with accuracy-based activities.

four skills

In language learning, the 'four skills' are reading, listening, speaking and writing.

Reading and listening are receptive skills.

Speaking and writing are productive skills.

free speaking activities

There are activities in which the focus is just on effective communication, for example, debates, discussions and role plays. Although the topic will mean that certain language is more likely to be used, the main aim of these activities is to practise fluency, not to practise particular language items.

It is different from freer practice activities which are designed to practise specific language.

freer practice

Freer practice is the 'production' part of a new language lesson when students practise using the target language (TL) in a semi-authentic way.  (See also controlled or restricted practice.)

frequency adverb

An adverb which indicates how frequently an event or action occurs. e.g. Sometimes, often, usually, always, never.


A consonant formed by partially restricting the flow of air, so there is a kind of friction. (e.g., /s/ and /v/)


Fricatives are also called continuants. They are consonants which are formed through friction (e.g, /f/ and /z/) - the flow of air is partially restricted, but not stopped completely. You can continue saying them until you run out of breath. The second line of consonants in the IPA chart are fricatives.

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