English as a Second Language (ESL)


bilingualism, ability to use two languages. Fluency in a second language requires skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, although in practice some of those skills are often considerably less developed than others. Few bilinguals are equally proficient in both languages. However, even when one language is dominant (see language acquisition), performance in the other language may be superior in certain situations—e.g., someone generally stronger in Russian than in English may find it easier to talk about baseball in English. Native speakers of two languages are sometimes called equilingual, or ambilingual, if their mastery of both languages is equal. Some bilinguals are persons who were reared by parents who each spoke a different language or who spoke a language different from the one used in school. In some countries, especially those with two or more official languages, schools encourage bilinguilism by requiring intensive study of a second language. Bilinguals sometimes exhibit code-switching, or switching from one language to the other in the middle of a conversation or even the same sentence; it may be triggered by the use of a word that is similar in both languages.

See G. Saunders, Bilingual Children (1988); K. Hyltenstam and L. K. Obler, ed., Bilingualism Across the Lifespan (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Getting Started with English Language Learners: How Educators Can Meet the Challenge
Judie Haynes.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2007
Changing Methodologies in TESOL
Jane Spiro.
Edinburgh University Press, 2013
Are Schools Getting Tongue-Tied? ESL Programs Face New Challenges
Schachter, Ron.
District Administration, Vol. 49, No. 4, April 2013
Ethical Issues for ESL Faculty: Social Justice in Practice
Johnnie Johnson Hafemik; Dorothy S. Messerschmitt; Stephanie Vandrick.
Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002
Teaching Practices for ESL Students
Curtin, Ellen "Aileen".
Multicultural Education, Vol. 12, No. 3, Spring 2005
Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice
Dana R. Ferris; John S. Hedgcock.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005 (2nd edition)
Balancing Act: Addressing Culture and Gender in ESL Classrooms
Johnson, Michelle A.; Chang, Debbie.
Journal of Adult Education, Vol. 41, No. 1, January 1, 2012
THE ESL Program: A Crucial Component of Distance Learning
Sull, Errol Craig; Seelow, David.
Distance Learning, Vol. 10, No. 2, March 1, 2013
Teaching Academic ESL Writing: Practical Techniques in Vocabulary and Grammar
Eli Hinkel.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
Content-Based ESL Instruction and Curriculum
Brown, Clara Lee.
Academic Exchange Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1, Spring 2007
Learner-Directed Assessment in ESL
Gayol Ekbatani; Herbert Pierson.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Dialogue on Writing: Rethinking ESL, Basic Writing, and First-Year Composition
Geraldine Deluca; Len Fox; Mark-Ameen Johnson; Myra Kogen.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002
Content-Based College ESL Instruction
Loretta F. Kasper.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Handbook of Undergraduate Second Language Education
Judith W. Rosenthal.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Effective Learning Outcomes of ESL Elementary and Secondary School Students Utilizing Educational Technology Infused with Constructivist Pedagogy
Lee, Rebecca.
International Journal of Instructional Media, Vol. 33, No. 1, Winter 2006
Teaching English to the World: History, Curriculum, and Practice
George Braine.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005
Second Language Classroom Research: Issues and Opportunities
Susan Gass; Jacquelyn Schachter.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
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