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    #1

    English teacher / Teacher of English

    English teacher

    If I said, “I’m an English teacher” what would you understand?

    (a) I’m from England and teach English.
    (b) I’m from Italy / France etc and teach English.

    I would choose (a).

    I’m asking because I’ve always thought of that sentence as a bit ambiguous.

    “I’m a History teacher” does not carry any ambiguity. I surely teach History (the country where I’m from does not matter much).

    So, in order to avoid ambiguity would “I’m a teacher of English” be a better option? Is it idiomatic?

    Thanks a lot.
    WW

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    #2

    Re: English teacher / Teacher of English

    My daughter has an English teacher in her school. She also has a Spanish teacher.

    In neither case would one normally think I was speaking of the nationality of the person.

    There is potential ambiguity, but not enough real world chance of it being ambiguous to turn to longer phrases to avoid this slight possibility.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: English teacher / Teacher of English

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Whitman View Post
    English teacher

    If I said, “I’m an English teacher” what would you understand?

    (a) I’m from England and teach English.
    (b) I’m from Italy / France etc and teach English.

    I would choose (a).

    I’m asking because I’ve always thought of that sentence as a bit ambiguous.

    “I’m a History teacher” does not carry any ambiguity. I surely teach History (the country where I’m from does not matter much).

    So, in order to avoid ambiguity would “I’m a teacher of English” be a better option? Is it idiomatic?

    Thanks a lot.
    WW
    If you were speaking, you would likely stress different words for different meanings.

    I'm an ENGLISH teacher. (subject)
    I'm an English TEACHER. (nationality)

    Also, context will usually resolve any ambiguity.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: English teacher / Teacher of English

    I am of the same opinion that stress plays an important role in conveying the right meaning.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: English teacher / Teacher of English

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    context will usually resolve any ambiguity.
    Quite. Context might suggest that your two examples imply:

    I'm an ENGLISH teacher. (not one from France)
    I'm an English TEACHER. (not a preacher)

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: English teacher / Teacher of English

    I'm an ENGLISH teacher -- not a physics or math teacher.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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