For an effective, cohesive theory to come into existence, language must be viewed as a sign system encompassing all aspects of language use which lead to active information-processing. The relationship between language, thought, and culture must be explored. The strengths of linguistics, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics must be pulled together to reflect the triadic union of language, thought, and culture. I will argue that the acquisition of English as a second language is affected by the native culture in that languages are thought sign systems which rise out of cultural patterns of experience. I wil also lay the groundwork for future study by creating a new theory of ESL and suggesting classroom strategies which represent language as a sign system.