English for Speakers of Other Languages

Beginner/Early Intermediate: What to Expect

Forms & Functions

Forms 1-10PDF icon
Listening
  • Understands common social vocabulary, single words, or words that sound like words from their native language
  • Understands simple words or expressions, questions and statements
  • Understands speech that is spoken at a slower rate and will require that you rephrase and repeat what you are saying
  • May have to pause for a while after you speak to process what you have said and be able to respond
Writing
  • A beginner is able to write some letters in the alphabet (not all English Language Learners have the same alphabet that we do)
  • The beginner can copy what someone else has already written and even remember a few words or phrases from memory
  • Can take some memorized vocabulary or phrases and recombines it to make new phrases
  • Writes name, date, where they were born and other autobiographical information
  • Writes all the letters in the alphabet
  • Spelling makes some sense and is somewhat correct
Reading
  • A beginner is able to read single words and/or some phrases that are strongly supported by pictures or context.
  • He or she can recognize and understand common words or phrases and words that are the same or similar to words from native language.
  • Students can read learned vocabulary around specific tasks like a menu, schedule, maps or signs.
  • Students can read material that is slightly more difficult that what would be expected if it is supported or has been previously taught.
Speaking
  • Student can use previously learned phrases around learned topics to communicate minimally
  • Vocabulary works for expressing needs and some basic courtesies such as: hello, how are you, Iím fine, good to see you, etc.
  • It is common at the beginning for a beginner to use only two to three words.
  • A beginner often has long pauses and use the same words as the person with whom they are talking.
  • A beginner communicates mostly through learned phrases
  • Sometimes it seems that their language is spontaneous; however one soon realizes that a beginner isnít yet able to precisely express their thoughts and is able to speak in general terms, but unable to be personal.
  • Vocabulary is very basic and has little description.
  • A strong accent may be present.