TEFL Glossary

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Paralinguistics (or paralinguistic features) are aspects of communication in addition to words. These features are: tone and pitch of voice, gestures, facial expressions and body language. Paralinguistics often serve to convey emphasis or attitude. 

parts of speech

See grammatical categories.


Passive forms are clauses in which the recipient of an action is the grammatical subject (e.g. He was attacked). Passive forms are formed by using verb to be as an auxiliary, and putting the main verb in the past participle form. S+BE+past participle.

peer teaching

When students teach each other.


Preliminary English Test -  a Cambridge English examination for students at B1 level.


A phoneme in a language is the unit of sound that distinguishes one word from another, for example, /t/ and /d/.

phrasal verb

It is a multi-word verb combining a verb and an adverb (adverbial particle). Together the two words usually have a different meaning from what the individual meanings of the words suggest (e.g, blow up). Verb + preposition combinations (e.g., look at) are sometimes called phrasal verbs (there is disagreement about this). Phrasal verbs can be transitive or intransitive. 

Transitive phrasal verbs may be separable or inseparable, e.g., take off  is separable:  take off your hat/take your hat off.

'Look after' is inseparable: I looked after the children. NOT *I looked the children after.

placement test

It is a test designed to find out students' current level in order to place them in the correct class.


The final stage of a lesson is sometimes called the plenary. Its purpose is to bring together and summarise what has been done in that day's lesson.


A plosive is a sound formed by completely stopping and then releasing the flow of air (e.g.. /p/ and /g/).

Plosives are also called stops.

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