Why create ELL when a huge percentage of ELU questions that I have seen appear to be from non native English speakers and are asking for things that few native speakers need. Is there a consensus from ELU mods that two SE sites are needed?

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    Yes, and look how many of those ELU questions about super-basic English-learner stuff get downvoted, closed, and deleted. Most of them. – tchrist Mar 11 '13 at 3:13
  • There's a very good answer to this there by a user active on both sites. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 11 '13 at 3:32
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    ELL was created for precisely the reason you indicate: a huge percentage of ELU questions were from non-native English speakers asking for things that few native speakers need. Those questions seemed largely out-of-place for that venue, but the community wanted a place where those questions would be welcomed, rather than downvoted for being too basic. They are legitimate questions, when presented to the right audience. – J.R. Mar 12 '13 at 8:27
  • @StoneyB -- thanks for the pointer. I would follow ELU if I had time, but I don't; but after I retire, ... In the meantime, I hope I can provide some help on ELL. – barbara beeton Mar 12 '13 at 20:12

ELU is for etymologists, linguists, and serious English language enthusiasts, while ELL is for people who are learning English. I don't see it as splitting ELU into two sites. Instead, I see it as creating a new site for a different audience. Although the two sites cover much of the same material, they cover different aspects of it, and are thus distinct.

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The difference between the sites is the target audience: English Language Learners is for people learning English. As such, I would not expect questions about Old English on ELL, or questions asking a deep analysis about the etymology of a word.

Probably, there are questions that are on EL&U that would have been asked on ELL, if both the sites were created at the same time, but that doesn't mean the sites are two different purposes and audiences.

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