Wednesday, April 15

Do You Want To Learn English As A Second Language?

A person who speaks two languages is bilingual...
A person who speaks three languages is trilingual...
A person who speaks four or more languages is multilingual.
What is a person who speaks one language?
Answer (Tip: Click the link and scroll down)

Speak English as a second language? Why a second language? Why not a third language? Or perhaps a fourth language? For some language gurus it might be the 15th language that they learn. In short, it depends (Easy way out!). I know the phrase, "speak English as a Second Language" (ESL) is a figure of speech (or something up there), but it just sounds funny to me, especially when I reflect the joke above. For many Americans, British (and Japanese) this phrase might sound perfectly fine, especially if they only speak one language. But for others (or me), it is just plain funny.

I suppose it sounds better than learning "English as a Foreign Language (EFL)". What about learning English as an alternative language. Nah! That doesn't sound right either! If you have any suggestions, please comment. It would be fun to socially brainstorm a better solution to this highly important term issue. We certainly don't want to confuse people embracing English as a second language. Ops, I mean third, fourth, or whatever!

During my 2 months plus thinking leave I was considering becoming an 'English Teacher' for a couple of years (Actually, I still am), but then when I began revising my English grammar, I was simply .......

Are you serious, did I learn that before. Gerunds! WOW! Not to mention 'Past Perfect Continuous'! The more '+ing' it gets, the longer the jargon phrase gets! I am really enjoying revising grammar and will surely work on my prepositions, but I am beginning to question whether I could teach someone in the future grammar or not (effectively). Perhaps, teaching something about 'Nouns' should be alright. 'Adjectives' are also cool, but 'Adverbs' become tricky. And then you have all the different contexts, which might transform a word to this and that. It is verb here, but not here. Oh man!

I suppose if I ever began teaching English, I would facilitate it by skipping grammar through scribbling, babbling and chatting, again, again, fused with modeling and feedback until it makes sense (who's sense? Got a point there!). As for grammar (if any), I would only teach them the very basics needed to construct a sentence that makes sense (who's sense? Alright, I get it!).

Give me another six months of learning English Grammar, Writing, Speaking and Listening skills, and I am ready to teach ESL. Although, I currently don't have any appropriate qualifications, I suppose if I do one day acquire a CELTA or two, I can Mind Your Language with my students.

What really struck me while I was searching for ESL online resources, was the amazing amount of options that we have. Whether you want ESL content for your IPod, or you want to do an online quiz to test your knowledge, trust me, there are enough resources to last you a few life times (and more). Wow! Are you kidding me! Then I found another bomb (not that kind of one)! Wow! It was one ESL learning orgasm after another. Below is a list of interesting ESL resources that I have discovered until now, and most of them are free. Keep in mind, this might just be the tip of the iceberg. If you get to the end of this post, I will reveal the ultimate ESL resource collection (to my limited exploration!). Have fun with this raw list (with some really juicy ones first):
  1. English as a Second Language (ESL)
    This ESL website developed by Ron C. Lee is a good starting point for ESL learners who want to study English through the Web.
  2. Dave's ESL Cafe
    The site looks a bit messy and it probably applies perhaps some outdated scripts and tools, but if you look beyond the cosmetics, you will find an amazing ocean of ESL resources. Also, it is a great meeting place for ESL teachers and students (check the forums) . If I end up as an ESL teacher one day, Dave would certainly be my 'knowledge sharing' role model. Thumbs up!
  3. EnglishCentral
    Practice speaking English while you watch great videos. When you use EnglishCentral, you choose the video you want to WATCH and learn from. Their proprietary speech recognition technology allows you to SPEAK and get feedback on your pronunciation and then compete with others learners on our Scoreboard. Finally, their platform keeps tracks of your progress performance over time so you can see view your progress over weeks and months of practice.
  4. BBC Learning English
    Is a resource for people who want to learn British English. It has material for both students and teachers, including video and audio clips. It also has links to improve your business English, with bilingual support for Spanish and Portuguese speakers. A great site to Learn English. It is BBC for crying out loud!
  5. ESL Pod
    Is run by a team of experienced English as a Second Language professors with over 30 years of high school, adult, and university ESL teaching experience. Dr. Lucy Tse writes scripts and story ideas for the podcasts, and records many of the dialogs and stories. The host for the podcast is Dr. Jeff McQuillan, who helps read the scripts and provides explanations for them.
    Is a free and award winning new system for learning to speak English. The program contains lessons that give special attention to English pronunciation and everyday language. With over 100 lessons, provides a large amount of audio content. Users have access to two different speeds of playback for each item.
  7. ESL Kingdom
    was established and is run by a small team of multi-national ESL professionals who have drawn on decades of experience teaching in Asia, Europe and North America to create the materials available for use in your lessons.
  8. English Baby
    English lessons to help you study ESL. Practice English with English Chat and English forums. Find Friends and penpals in different countries, test your English vocabulary with our vocab quiz, and check your English grammar and English slang.
  9. English to go
    English lessons, Learn English, Teach English, Lesson plans, ESL resources, ESL reading. One of the world’s leading providers of English training resources delivered via the Internet. Their resources are used by more than 55,000 teachers in 190 countries reaching over one million students worldwide.
  10. PodCards
    PodCards are audio postcards that you can download to your iPod. They contain information about a particular town or city from different countries around the world or biographies of famous people or events that make these places famous.
  11. EnglishMeeting
    A resource with audio and video for ESL (English for Second Language) students and teachers worldwide. 
    The idea behind this site is simple. By listening, reading and writing about something you enjoy - football - you can improve your English language skills. Follow the Premier League in England, and the big football stories from around the world while learning English. Why didn't I think of something like that!
    100 activities written by professional ESL/ELT writers. No downloading PDFs - just choose, print and go. Quick and easy to use, even over a dial-up connection.
  14. LEO Network
    For over 10 years Learn English has been the free and independent web site for EFL/ESL learners and teachers. With over 2 million visitors a month, it must be doing something right.
  15. Learn English
    This site is for elementary and intermediate learners of English. You can study grammar or vocabulary topics and try one of the 400 exercises and language games.
  16. English Page
    Free online English lessons & ESL / EFL resources.
  17. EnglishCafe
    An English learning community for the global professional. It is an evolving culture of English learners and experts, where people help each other navigate our rapidly changing world through use of a common language.
  18. Bee Oasis
    At BeeOasis you can enjoy many stories without a dictionary at a level just right for you. Learning English without a dictionary. That is interesting!
  19. Exam English
    This web site is for people studying for an English language exam. These pages contain free online practice tests for the most important international ESL/EFL exams: IELTS, TOEFL, and the Cambridge ESOL exams such as CPE, CAE, FCE, and PET. You can also find out information about the different exams.
  20. ESL Business News
    A weekly podcast of international business news read in slow, clear English. Listen to the podcast and follow along in the accompanying script.
  21. Yossarian the Grammarian
    A whole bunch of excellent video tutorials exploring grammar and sentence construction. You have to watch this great teacher get down to business simplifying gerunds and who knows what. To be honest, he seems a bit frustrated with all the hopeless ESL or English teachers out there. Hopefully other English teachers are watching. One minus point though, I believe he could have used simpler examples (phrases and sentences) to make his points clearer.
    All podcasts are free for language learners and teachers, but only members receive the learning English worksheets, vocabulary tasks, webquests and transcripts.
  23. English Listening Practice for English Learners
    You will find good stories for listening practice on almost every page of this site.
  24. English Teacher John Show
    An easy-to-understand English learning podcast site, which features grammar, idioms, pronunciation, topics and more.
  25. ESL Learning Pod
    This site was put together to help you learn English. It provides free podcasts and learning materials for you to practice and improve your English language skills.
  26. The English Desk
    Practise your English listening skills by listening to the episodes first without reading the text.
  27. The Word Nerds
    Is a podcast about language and language change. It has been published on the Internet since March 21, 2005. Originally published every week, it now appears once every two to three weeks.
  28. Lingofeeds - English for Professional Purposes
    Is dedicated to providing niche-specific English learning materials for professional purposes. Launching June 2009.
  29. UGoEigo
    It offers two video podcast series to help you learn English pronunciation: “English Sounds” and “Functional Phrases”. Each lesson shows a close-up of the mouth saying the target sounds and words.
  30. Pronunciation Power
    Pronunciation Power teaches you how to use the 52 sounds necessary to say all 540,000 English words. Commercial, but still worth a buck, I suppose.
  31. Free English and Spelling Lessons
    By Mikie Metric. This site uses American English rules of spelling and grammar .
  32. Essay Punch - An Interactive Writing Tutorial
    The site provides online interactive exercises that guide users step by step through pre-writing, writing, organizing, editing, rewriting, and publishing.
  33. GlobalEnglish
    Improving business English communication skills of global companies. Founded in 1997, GlobalEnglish has become the leading provider of online learning and support for business English communication. They offer a scalable, on-demand solution that helps employees improve their ability to communicate effectively in English and enables companies to succeed in the global marketplace.
  34. YouTube Channel - English Tutorials
    Shakespeare, Grammar, Composition... English at your fingertips! check out writing essays, what Hamlet really means, and all the strange quirks of verbs... anything you need in school.
  35. Studio 4 Learning
    Studio 4 Networks provides award-winning lifestyle and educational programming delivered on-demand over cable television, satellite, and the Internet.
  36. Englishcaster
    Is for both students and educators: EFL, ESL, TESOL, TEFL. You can listen to, rate, review and submit podcasts, as well as other English study resources.
  37. Tech ELT Blog
    This blog began life for everyone taking the CELTA course at International House Barcelona, but is also intended to be of interest to anyone wanting to use technology in English Language Teaching.
  38. ESL-to-go
    In today’s fast-paced world of e-mail, instant messenger, on-line classes and blogs “ESL TO GO” was born. This is a blog to help ESL students.
  39. The English Blog
    Internet resources, reviews, news, tips and trivia for learners and teachers of English.
  40. Business English Pod
    Business English Pod provides MP3 and video podcast ESL lessons for intermediate and advanced business English learners. Each business English podcast lesson is focused on a particular workplace English skill (meetings, presentations, telephoning, negotiating, socializing, travel, conversation etc.) and language function (clarifying, disagreeing, questioning, expressing opinions, persuasion etc.).
  41. Activities for ESL/EFL Students (English Study)
    Quizzes, tests, exercises and puzzles to help you learn English as a Second Language (ESL). This project of The Internet TESL Journal ( has thousands of contributions by many teachers.
  42. Learn English Online with English4Today
    Hundreds of grammar and vocabulary resources, online courses, IELTS, Business English, and Writing courses, video English lessons, podcasts, downloadable software.
  43. Entry WSU ESL Help Desk
    This virtual help desk is designed to help ESL (English as Second Language) students and their instructors at Washington State University (and you).
  44. Curricular Resources in English as a Second Language
    Here are a number of links to Internet sites which contain information and/or other links related to Language Arts. You may also find useful information (e.g., various foreign language dictionaries) in their collection of Reference Materials.
  45. Common Errors in English
    William, James Co. has published a book based on this site titled Common Errors in English Usage. It contains most of the contents of the Web version (as of the date of publication) plus more detailed discussion of many of the entries simply listed under “More Errors.” Since the site will remain online for free use, why should you buy a copy? Could point!
  46. FoxLingo
    A language tool that gives you easy access to sites in foreign languages. It is the first meta-translator, linked to thirty-six free online translators, enabling you to translate between fifty languages in over 1,500 different language pairs. Foxlingo has been downloaded over two million times by people all over the world.
  47. MeGlobe
    Is a web-based instant messenger client with realtime translation into 14+ languages. This Jabber-powered tool lets folks chat interlingually.
  48. English Learning Pakistan
    Check out the 7 excellent rules for learning English easily and automatically. Several of the resources on this site is not free, but the 7 rules book is (That alone is worth the visit).
  49. English Speaking
    Learn to speak English and improve your spoken English.

If you ask me to recommend the ultimate mambo jumbo list or collection of ESL resources (if you have a couple of weeks to explore!), it would have to be Dave's ESL Cafe's Web Resource list. Here you will find more than 3000 links (URLs) to English related learning resources from A-Z. Amazing! In addition, you might want to explore the Top ESL Websites, which is another wonderful collection.

Have fun learning English as a second language. I mean third, or ... simply have fun ' Learning English' :)


the unknown said...

there's a lot of specialization of an english teacher. for instance,u could go into:

1. syntax theory (grammar n stuff)
2. semantics (study of meaning)
3. pragmatics (meaning in social context)
4. rhetorics (how to make arguments)

lookin at your passion for learning and research, y not apply for a grant and do ur own thing?

u cud design techniques for learning english the fast way. incorporate it with an elearning system or somethin'.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Dear Mr. Unknown,

Thanks for the wonderful suggestions for my PhD.

Actually, I am now exploring silently the idea of researching 'Reflection' in educational practice both for educators and students.

We will see :)

Thanks again!

Warm Regards,


ESL Kingdom said...

Need high quality learning resources? Check out the new resources at!

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Hi ESL Kingdom,

Thanks for promoting yourself. I have added your kingdom to the list :)

Warm Regards,


Mahdi said...

you are welcome to visit my blog:

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Jack Askew said...

There is a lot of different resources available, some better than others. But the basics for learning the languages doesn't change.

Jack @ JDAenglish

Nathanial said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathanial said...

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Amit said...

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Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Thanks for sharing :)

I have added your 'English Learning Pakistan' to the post. I especially like the 7 rules for learning English.

Thanks again,


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