TEFL Glossary

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First language - also referred to as primary language, native language and mother tongue.


Second Language. It is any language that a person knows aside from his/her first language.


See second language acquisition.


These are the sounds formed by placing the bottom lip against the top teeth (/f/ and /v/).  


Language Acquisition Device - see innatist theory.

language grading

Grading your language means using language appropriate to your students' level. When you are explaining a new word or phrase, it is easy to accidentally use another piece of unfamiliar vocabulary. You then need to explain that, and in doing so you might introduce a third unfamiliar term! Instead, you should try to explain the vocabulary item without using other words or grammatical structures that the students don't already know.


See warmer.

learning platform

You are on one!
A learning platform is any online information system used for teaching. This maybe for exclusively online courses, such as this one, or to support traditional teaching in schools, universities, etc.

learning style

It is a student's preferred way of learning, e.g, visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. It also refers to the conditions in which an individual is most likely to learn effectively.

Lexical Approach

Lexical approaches to language teaching emphasise the importance of vocabulary in language learning. A lexical syllabus is organised according to the vocabulary that is to be taught rather than the grammar or the functions. A large proportion of the language we produce seems to be memorised 'chunks of language', rather than original creations generated through combining our grammatical and lexical knowledge. Examples are the _____er, the _________er (as in the bigger, the better), you must be joking, to cut a long story short.

These 'pre-fabricated chunks' are given various names such as lexical phrases, holophrases, gambits and lexicalised stems. What they are called does not really matter, but it is very useful for the language teacher to recognise and teach these chunks.

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