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English as a Second Language is the use or study of English by those were not raised with English as their native language. People who are learning English face many difficulties, which include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and the differences between spoken and written English.¹

The pronunciation of English is difficult for English language learners.¹ English contains a number of sounds not present in some languages. Speakers of languages without those sounds may have problems both with hearing and with pronouncing them.¹

Languages may also differ in syllable structure. English allows for up to three consonants before the vowel sound and five after it. Japanese, for example, alternates between consonants and vowels making it hard for Japanese people to grasp English pronunciation.¹

English has a large number of tenses with slightly subtle differences that make it hard for non-native English speakers to master. Modal verbs also make it extremely hard for English learners to master English. Modal verbs include ‘have to’, ‘has to’, ‘will’, ‘shall’, etc.¹

English language learners might have trouble understanding phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are verbs that have several meanings and different syntactic patterns.¹ Word derivation (making a word the opposite of its original meaning) requires a lot of memorization in the English language. The size of the English language lexicon is also enormous, encompassing Old English and Latin-based terms.¹

The differences between spoken and written English are also difficult for English learners. Written English tends to be more formal than spoken English.¹

ESL programs¹:

  • Prepare you for academic study at college, university, or professional schools.
  • Help you improve your scores on the English examinations you may need in the future, such as the TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge Exams.
  • Satisfy your personal English learning needs and interests by offering many choices of classes, such as Business English or Conversational English.
  • Teach you first hand about the culture and customs of the host country.
  • Immerse you in a new language and culture, providing many opportunities to practice English both at school and in the local community.
  • Help you meet many new and different people both in and outside of school.
  • Often provide accommodations, cultural and social activities, and other student services to make your travels easier and more satisfying.




1. Apply ESL. What is ESL? Retrieved May 21, 2014, from

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