English Language Learning
English Language Learning & eLuma
What does it mean to be an English Language Learner?
English Language Learners (ELLs) are identified as individuals learning English subsequent to their native language. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/easl/), it has been projected that by the 2030s, approximately 40% of the school-aged population in the United States will be ELLs. In some areas, such as California, this projection has already been surpassed, with 60-70% of school-aged children speaking a native language other than English.
Federal and state regulations, such as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), as well as the ASHA Code of Ethics, require that Speech-Language Pathologists provide services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. Speech-Language Pathologists play an important role in distinguishing language disorders from language differences, to avoid false identification of disorders. In order to appropriately evaluate, identify eligibility, and provide services in the areas of speech and/or language, SLPs must understand the natural phenomenon of non-native language acquisition.
The natural process of second-language acquisition includes the following:
Interference: ELLs may make an error in English due to the influence of the structure of their native language. For example, they may make a literal translation from their native language to English.
“For example, in Spanish, ‘esta casa es mas grande’ means ‘this house is bigger.’ However, a literal translation would be ‘this house is more bigger’ (https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/easl/).”
Silent Period: ELLs often focus on listening and understanding a new language when they are first exposed to it, which may cause them to remain silent for a period of time. The length of the silent period can range from a few weeks to a year or more and tends to be longer for younger children.
Codeswitching: ELLs may switch between languages over phrases or sentences.
Language Loss: As an ELL gains skills in English, they may lose fluency and skills in their native language if that language is not reinforced.
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Acquiring English as a Second Language. Available at https://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/easl/.
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Issues in Ethics: Cultural and Linguistic Competence. Available at https://www.asha.org/Practice/ethics/Cultural-and-Linguistic-Competence/.
Want to Learn More?
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