English Teacher / Teacher of English

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mk_1855

Member
Greek
How do you call someone who teaches English?


I have heard "English teacher" and "Teacher of English" both being used, but I have doubts about the first one as, apparently, it can mean two things:
  • "English teacher" --> a teacher who is English
  • "English teacher" --> a teacher of English
Doesn't it sound confusing? Is "English teacher" really used with that double -and sometimes confusing- meaning or is it a common mistake that non-native speakers, like me, make?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The two are pronounced differently. When the first word of 'English teacher' is a noun, it is given the main stress, like other nouns: ENGlish teacher, matheMATics teacher, geOGraphy teacher, HISTory teacher, GREEK teacher. (English and Greek are language subjects.)

    When it's an adjective, the noun takes the main stress, as with other adjectives (if you're not emphasizing them): an English TEACHer, a British TEACHer, an intelligent TEACHer, a tall TEACHer, a left-handed TEACHer, a Greek TEACHer. (English and Greek are nationalities.)

    Anything can be stressed for contrast: so if she was an ENGlish teacher, not a GREEK teacher, you don't know which the meaning is from that. But this would be said in response to a normal statement: e.g. I think she's a GREEK teacher (= teaches Greek).
     

    mk_1855

    Member
    Greek
    dn88, thank you for you link.

    I really thought it was a silly question and that no one else would have asked it! But, apparently, it was not as uncommon as I had thought.
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    How What do you call someone who teaches English?

    I would say "English teacher". The context will usually determine if the teacher also happens to be from England.
     

    mk_1855

    Member
    Greek
    entangledbank, your answer is very interesting. I had never thought there was such an intonation difference!

    Thank you very much.

    SwissPete, thank you for your contribution and for correcting my mistake.
     
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