English teacher / teacher of English

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Imladris

Senior Member
Turkey - Turkish
[1] I'm an English teacher.
[2] I'm a teacher of English.


Hi,

If you were a non-native English teacher, which one would you use, 1 or 2? Does "English teacher" necessarily mean the person is a native speaker? Thanks.
 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    1. is more succinct, but without context it is ambiguous - you could be an English Maths teacher. Of course, sentences never occur without context, except on WordReference: if the context makes it clear what you mean, prefer 1.
     

    kw10

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    I would definitely go with number 1, and it doesn't imply whether you're a native speaker or not.
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    This is part of a larger question. If I say "I saw the white house" I mean just any house that is painted white. But if I say "I saw the White House" I mean the official residence of the president of the USA.

    In speech, we indicate which of the two we mean by emphasizing one of the words: The first would be "I saw the white house" and the second, "I saw the White House".

    In writing, it is usually ambiguous. The example I gave is a poor one because of the use of capitals in the name of the presidential residence. "She is the English teacher" (in speech) makes it clear that she teaches English language or literature, and "She is the English teacher" (in speech) indicates that she is from England.

    The only way to make that a clear distinction in writing is by adding context or using different phrasing, which can sound awkward. It's a one of the difficulties in the English language.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If you're not English and are speaking, rather than writing, any ambiguity in No. 1 will probably resolve itself through your accent.

    Better, still, try the more concise: "I teach English."
     

    Imladris

    Senior Member
    Turkey - Turkish
    What does "Teacher of English" mean then? Is it a concocted term? :) (I guess "made-up" would be a better phrasing than concocted.)
     

    katie_here

    Senior Member
    England/English
    What does "Teacher of English" mean then? Is it a concocted term? :) (I guess "made-up" would be a better phrasing than concocted.)

    I've googled and there are references to this. There is a forum called TESOL - Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, and some others that seem to be in the main, American organisations. I don't think it's made up, but I don't think it's as common as English Teacher. I've never seen Teacher of History, Teacher of Physical Eduation (PE), it's always the other way around, History Teacher, PE Teacher.
     

    mau_mau

    Member
    English
    I would also definitely use number one, number 2 is very similar to direct translations from other languages and not really used in everyday situations. "I'm an English teacher" would be used by most native speakers but it could also mean that you teach English (literature or language) to English speakers. If you don't have an accent that'll give you way just explain you teach the language to people who don't speak English to avoid ambiguity.
     

    Wilma_Sweden

    Senior Member
    Swedish (Scania)
    "I'm an English teacher" would be used by most native speakers but it could also mean that you teach English (literature or language) to English speakers. If you don't have an accent that'll give you way just explain you teach the language to people who don't speak English to avoid ambiguity.
    My late ex, who was English, used to say that he was an English EFL teacher, which clearly distinguished him from other English teachers as he taught only English as a foreign language, and gave away his nationality... Whatever your nationality, if you primarily teach English as a second or foreign language, ESL/EFL teacher would be a more precise description.

    /Wilma
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    I have friends who teach English at schools (to children) in England, they are English Teachers.

    Because I am not a school teacher say I teach English as a foreign Language, as a way of distinguishing myself from school teachers to people who may not know what EFL stands for (EFL English Teacher). It would sound clumsy and odd to say: I'm an English as a Foregn Language Teacher.
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    As I read this thread, and prior to reaching sdgraham's post, I had decided that "I teach English" would resolve any confusion. It is, in fact, what I tell people.
     

    Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    When speaking to other teachers, American English as a Second Language teachers almost always refer to themselves as ESL teachers, not English teachers. It requires additional training and certification beyond that required to teach English in most areas.

    And, obviously, no one would be confused about my nationality if I were to call myself an English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, or Chinese teacher...;)
     

    sinukg

    Senior Member
    Malayalam
    Added to previous thread. Cagey, moderator.

    Hi everyone,

    Please tell me whether the following sentences are correct. If yes, kindly tell me the difference in their meaning.

    I am an English teacher.
    I am a teacher in English.
    I am a teacher of English.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Please tell me whether the following sentences are correct. If yes, kindly tell me the difference in their meaning.

    I am an English teacher. :tick:
    I am a teacher in English.:cross:
    I am a teacher of English.:tick:
    There is basically no difference in meaning between the first and last sentences. They simply show 2 different ways to say the same thing.
     

    Kenny Chang

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Traditional)
    Hi, everyone. If I want to distinguish these two meanings:
    1. I am a teacher from China.
    2. I am a teacher who teaches Chinese.

    Can I just simply change the stress to distinguish them?
    1. I am a Chinese teacher.
    2. I am a Chinese teacher.
    (Although sometimes I can't stress it beautifully.)

    Thank you.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Usually, the context clarifies the meaning. But yes, with a compound, the stress is generally at the beginning. Therefore 'ChiNESE teacher' is used for the noun+noun compound (someone who teaches Chinese), and 'Chinese TEACHer' is used for the adjective + noun phrase (a teacher of Chinese nationality or ethnicity).

    See English teacher vs English language teacher

    One person certainly disagrees with this in that thread.
     
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