ELT Jargon June 2009

behaviourism- the idea that the kids not being naughty is about all you can expect from a kindergarten English lesson

Communication Accommodation Theory- the discredited idea that host families in the UK actually speak to the students who are staying with them

communicative strategies- ways students can avoid having to communicate in the classroom, e.g. by complaining about pairwork because “I never know when I am making mistakes”

contrastive analysis- comparing yourself to your partner’s ex boyfriends and/ or girlfriends

covert errors- ones used to spot spies and run away POWs in WWII movies

error analysis- endless talk about your boss’s or spouse’s cock ups

global errors- voting for George W Bush

interlanguage phonology- the way that you sound like a native speaker in your head, but somehow it comes out all wrong

interlanguage pragmatics- the use of the pretension and hated term “interlanguage” just because you know it impresses your boss

L1- solo act of the last remaining member of band L7

L2- two steps to the left (step dancing instruction)

language transfer- a special kind of endless direct debit that you can’t get out of, popularized by Opening, Wall Street and Nova

lexical errors- saying “vocabulary” instead of “lexis” when you were trying to sound impressive in a TEFL interview or article

Linguistic Universals- now a part of Paramount pictures, and hence of Sony

omissive errors- failing to mention that your lover has changed her haircut. Often contrasted with additive errors (mentioning that your lover has put on weight), and substitutive errors (mentioning that you have other options)

overt errors- becoming camper and camper as you get more comfortable with your students, and then going too far…

performance errors- the classic beginner teacher mistake of asking shy students to stand at the front of the class and act out a dialogue

self-talk- brought about by being the only native speaker teacher in a school for too long

target language- things you say that cause bullying

word order- demanding that all students produce at least one word

Should you be interested in the less alternative meanings, these all come from the very readable Wikipedia page on Second Language Acquisition. Alternatively, get yourself a copy of the book to which this is a probably very unwelcome tribute. Should you tire of that and want to get back to wasting your time (which is what the internet is for, after all) the previous part of this mammoth series of mine is here, whence you can also find links to all the other bits.

This entry was posted in Linguistics, applied linguistics and SLA, TEFL and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ELT Jargon June 2009

  1. Sandy says:

    Very good, ALex – more of the same (or similar), please! I think that you forgot tomention Teacher Talk, though – Ts slagging off their students (or colleagues ) in the staff room.

  2. Anne says:

    What fun – thank you 🙂 You certainly gave me L1 or L2 (a laugh or two). I think “word order” is my favorite… (In a packy tone of voice:) “Order! Order in the classroom!”

  3. Anne says:

    Opps, sorry, lame fingers and dull eyes swallowed the “ni”. Make that “panicky”!

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