Troubled Acronyms

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Random thought of the day…

Why have there been so many ways to describe people whose main language isn’t English? I count the following acronyms:

  1. ESL: English as a Second Language. Okay, so maybe English is your third or fourth language – I get the problem.
  2. LBOTE: Language Backgrounds Other Than English. So it has BOTE in the acronym, which is a homonym for BOAT, which might be the way that some refugees arrived in the country and has negative connotations with some? Okay, I guess that could be construed as an issue.
  3. NESB: Non-English Speaking Background. So what’s wrong with this one? I thought it rolled off the tongue quite nicely, actually.
  4. EAL/D: English as an Additional Language/Dialect. This one wins points for using an extra symbol to squeeze in more meaning. Yowzer, it sounds so awkward to say out loud: “Eee Ay Ell Slash Dee”.

I guess I shouldn’t stress about it… in a year or two we’ll probably have a new one.

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