Glossary of Foreign Language Teaching Terms

Here’s a list providing quick and simple definitions of key terms used by linguists and language educators.

  1. L1 – a person’s native language. (more info)
  2. L2 – a person’s second language or the language being learned. (more info)
  3. TL – Target Language.  The language being taught.
  4. Native Speaker – Describes a person who demonstrates the highest level of language proficiency.  A native speaker has spent their childhood and teenage years growing up in the country in which the target language is the official language.
  5. Heritage Speaker – Describes a person who demonstrates a high level of language proficiency.  A heritage speaker has not grown up to adulthood in a country in which the target language is the official language.  Their family unit speaks the target language as L1 even though they live in a foreign country.
  6. CI – Comprehensible Input – Simply defined: Understandable or intelligible information being received/processed by an individual.  A foreign language is generally incomprehensible to a language learner.  A foreign language teacher uses techniques to make L2 comprehensible to her/his students.
  7. Flipped Teaching or Flipped Classroom – An instructional model wherein students learn new material before they get to class.  Class time is used more for practicing language instead of learning language components for the first time. (more info)
  8. AIM (Accelerative Integrated Methodology) – A method of developing proficiency in the target language.  Teachers focus on gestures, key words, content based instruction and contextualized approach to grammar. (more info)
  9. #TL90plus – a hashtag used to facilitate discussion about staying in the target language as a strategy for teaching a foreign language.  TL stands for Target Language.  90plus refers to ACTFL’s recommendation “that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time and, when feasible, beyond the classroom.” Click here to join the #TL90plus conversation on twitter.

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A list of questions that makes this article easier to be found by search engines:  🙂  What is L1?  What does L2 mean?  What does TL stand for?  What’s the difference between a native speaker and a heritage speaker? What’s the definition of comprehensible input?  What is flipped classroom or what is flipped teaching?