The Alternative ELT jargon dictionary Part Four

agreement– Verbs matching their pronouns, e.g. third person -s. If students make mistakes with this you can prompt them using this technical term, e.g. Student “My sister she get up at six and thirty” Teacher “Agreement” S “Sorry?” T “Your verb and pronoun disagree” “Eh?” “I said, your verb and the word before it are having a bit of a row” “What??” “If you don’t change that verb ending soon it’s going to come to blows, I’m telling you” “This teacher, he explain very bad” “Oh dear. Agreement!” etc.

ALT (Alien Language Teacher)- a native speaking assistant teacher who helps give lessons in Junior High schools etc. Not to be confused with ALF (Alien Language Friend)- someone who gives informal English conversation lessons in cafes.

approximants– Sounds that are as close as your students are ever going to get to native speaker pronunciation of English, e.g. a sound that is somewhere between an /r/, /l/ and /w/ but is at least usually identifiable as only one of those sounds.

assimilation– A form of connected speech where a sound in a word is modified by its neighbours, e.g. by being forced to buy a computer operated sprinkler because the sound next door has one

back-reference– The technical term for bitching about someone when they are not there, e.g. “Have you heard the news? It seems he’s one of them too!”

CALL (Computer assisted language learning- pronounced /kal/)- An intermediate step on the way to TELL (totally electronic language learning) and HAL (hologram assisted learning).

CMC (Computer-mediated communication)- When everything the teacher says goes through the students’ electronic dictionaries before it is accepted as true

complexity– How much of a complex students have about using things like conjuctions and pronouns for back-reference

compound sentence– A sentence with two or more clauses, usually long like the protective wall around the foreigner compounds teachers in Saudi live in

compounding– A way of forming words by combining two or more nouns or adjectives. Not to be confused with “pounding“, which is the technical term for when a student makes endless identical failed efforts at pronouncing a word until the teacher screams at them to stop

concord– Another name for agreement, such as agreeing to add an -e onto the end of the supersonic plane name just to make the French shut up for a minute

connected speech– When the student who always starts long monologues about random topics manages, by some fluke, to say something perfectly connected to what you want to do next in the lesson

connotation– The good, bad, humurous, old-fashioned etc. associations of words and expressions. The word “connotation” is derived from the French word “con”, which is a nice way of saying “bloody stupid”

fricatives– Sounds that are produced by friction. The word “fricative” is derived from the eupheumism “fricking”, and was originally used only to mean the insulting “raspberry” sound produced with your tongue

hybrid language learning– When strong students help weaker ones not just by explaining grammar but by contributing some of their genes with the use of modern classroom cloning technology (as yet only available at the British Council)

Juncture– The age of the rule of the Junker class in Germany, who were famous for pausing between each and every word to give them all a suitably strong Germanic emphasis

liaison– When an extra sound between a final vowel and the first sound of the next word passes notes back and forward between those two sounds until they get together for some really hot connected speech

non-voiced– Negative feedback to using games in class that doesn’t come out until the end-of-course feedback form because they always seem to be having fun

plosive sounds– The sounds students make just before they explode with frustration, e.g. the first four sounds in “bu bu bu bu..but I DID do my homework!!”

schema– A scheme or plot that is very complex and intelligent, hence the use of Latin to describe it

vowels– Sounds that are made without any significant obstruction or constriction. The word is derived by shortening the phrase “v(ery loose b)owels”

Full list of the Alternative ELT Jargon Dictionary available here.

This entry was posted in Error correction, Linguistics, applied linguistics and SLA, Teaching English in Japan, TEFL, TESOL and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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