Giulio
Community Tutor
English teacher? 1) What's (or what are) the most correct way(s) to express the meaning of "SOMEONE WHO TEACHES ENGLISH" or other languages? "English teacher"? But this could also mean "a teacher from England", who maybe lives in the U.S. and teaches maths. "English Language teacher"? "Teacher of English"? Or is the choice depending on the circumstances? 2) How can I say: "A JAPANESE WHO TEACHES ENGLISH"? "Japanese English teacher"? But this could also mean "a teacher of whatever subject, whose parents are one from Japan and the other from England". "Japanese English Language teacher"? "Japanese teacher of English"? "English teacher from Japan"? Or is the choice depending on the circumstances?
Nov 28, 2016 11:44 PM
Answers · 9
In the United States the normal term for someone who teaches the English language is "English teacher." It seems to me that "X teacher" always means "teacher of X." If X is the name of a language, "X teacher" is understand to mean "teacher of the X language." You would need to use a more complicated phrase to express a teacher's nationality. It's not something that comes up frequently so there isn't any stock phrase. I would use a sentence to explain it. "In college, my Russian teacher was from Russia."
November 29, 2016
In the spoken language, an *English* teacher teaches English, while an English *teacher* is a teacher from England. This is a general stress rule in the spoken language — we usually accent the first noun (even though it serves as an adjective), but not an adjective. In writing, you’ll have to rely on context or use a less ambiguous wording.
November 29, 2016
As Phil says, there is never usually any ambiguity in the spoken language, because the stress pattern is different. An 'English teacher', in the sense of person who teaches English, is a compound noun composed of two nouns, like a 'geography teacher' or a 'science teacher'. The rule with compound nouns is that you stress the first element. So the main stress of the noun phrase 'an English teacher' would be on the 'Eng' of 'English'. By contrast, 'English teacher', in the sense of a teacher who comes from England, is composed of an adjective and a noun. In normal speech, we would place the stress on the noun, so if we are describing the teacher in term of his/her nationality, the main stress on the noun phrase 'an English teacher' would be on the 'teach' of 'teacher'. If this seems confusing, think of the example of 'a green house' and 'a greenhouse'. In the first, we stress the word 'house'; in the second, we stress 'green'. This works even if the compound noun is made up of two separate words. For example, with the fixed term 'a black cab', referring to a typical London taxi, the stress falls on the word 'black', indicating that this is a compound noun. This is different from 'a black car', for example, which would have the stress on the noun 'car'. Using and interpreting stress patterns is something that comes instinctively to native English speakers. If an Australian, for example, said 'I'm an English teacher', this would never cause any confusion for fellow native speakers, because the stress on the word 'English' would make it obvious that 'English' was the subject taught rather than the speaker's nationality. In written English, the context would probably make it clear what is meant.
November 29, 2016
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Giulio
Language Skills
English, Italian, Spanish
Learning Language
English