TEFL Glossary

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Scan reading or scanning is when we look through a text quickly to find specific information. For example, looking at a bus or train timetable, then looking down quickly until you find the name of the town you are travelling to, and then across the different times until you find the time of day you are interested in.


Schwa is a name given for the most common sound in English Schwa. The word derives from a Hebrew word for a diacritic indicating a neutral vowel sound.

second language acquisition

Also referred to as L2A. It is the process by which a second language is acquired. It is a field of study in linguistics.

secondary stress

See main stress.

semi-authentic texts

These are the authentic texts which have been adapted slightly for language teaching.


See modal verbs.


It is a sound usually classed as a consonant (in English), but not a true consonant because there is no complete closure or restriction stopping the flow of air. Also called an approximant  /r/, /l/, /w/ and /j/).

sentence adverb

See adverb.

sentence adverbs

See adverbs

silent period

From Krashen's L2A theories and Terrell's Natural Approach, this is the idea that second language learners should be allowed to have a silent period when they first start learning. This means they are not forced to speak until they are ready.

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