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How to talk about people whose mother tongue isn't English? Is there an equivalent of the French expressions "non-francophone" or "non-anglophone"?

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    A "non-native English speaker". As opposed to a "native English speaker".
    – None
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:24
  • @Laure I can't tell for sure, but I feel OP expected something shorter... I'd like to learn shorter form too, if it exists :) Mar 3, 2014 at 13:26
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    @Łukasz웃Lツ: the word "anglophone" exists but it's more usual to say native/non-native. "English speaker" is not necessary if it is obvious from context that English is the language under discussion.
    – None
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:31
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    Well, some people might say English language learner :-) Or just learner.
    – user230
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:38
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    @snailplane: I appreciate the pun, but the implication that anyone whose first language wasn't English will forever be a learner I can only accept in the sense that everybody keeps learning their whole life. And in that case, there is no distinction between native and non-native speakers anymore :)
    – oerkelens
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:56

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In English, it is as simple as saying someone is a "non-native English speaker," or saying that English is not their primary language. Sometimes they are called ESL-Learners, which means "English as a Second Language Learners."

There is not really a name or term for people whose primary language is not English; you basically just say they do not speak English as their first language.

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