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ENGLISH for SPECIFICENGLISH for SPECIFIC
Key Notions and Significant TermsKey Notions and Significant Terms
English for Specific Purposes refers to…
∞ the teaching of a specific genre of mostly
technical English for students with specific
goals, careers or fields of study
∞ a sphere of teaching English language
including Business English, Technical
English, Scientific English, English for
medical professionals, English for waiters,
English for tourism, English for Art Purposes,
Hutchinson and Waters (1987)
"ESP is an approach
to language teaching
in which all decisions
as to content and
method are based on
the learner's reason
Hutchinson and Waters (1987)
The early beginnings of E.S.P. start in the 1960s
and that this domain of theory and practice in
the teaching of English has undergone five
1. The concept of special language: register
2. Rhetorical and discourse analysis
3. Target situation analysis
4. Skills and strategies
5. A learning-centred approach
is a variety of a language used for a particular purpose, situations,
or in a particular social setting
specialist language use related to a particular activity, such as
first used by the linguist Thomas Bertram Reid in 1956
brought into general currency in the 1960s by a group of linguists
who wanted to distinguish among variations in language according
to the user (defined by variables such as social background,
geography, sex and age), and variations according to use, "in the
sense that each speaker has a range of varieties and choices
between them at different times" (Halliday et al., 1964)
M.A.K Halliday and R. Hasan (1976) interpret
"the linguistic features which are
typically associated with a
configuration of situational features –
with particular values of the field, mode
Field, Mode, Tenor
Field - the total event, in which the text is functioning,
together with the purposive activity of the speaker or
writer; includes subject-matter as one of the elements
Mode - the function of the text in the event, including both
the channel taken by language – spoken or written,
extempore or prepared – and its genre, rhetorical mode,
as narrative, didactic, persuasive, 'phatic communion',
Tenor - the type of role interaction, the set of relevant
social relations, permanent and temporary, among the
TWO E-MAILSTWO E-MAILS
Illustrative Samples for
FIELD, MODE, and TENOR
E-MAIL No. 1: From a Seminar Organizer to a
(unequal status/ low affective involvement/ occasional contact)
We are very pleased to hear that you have
been appointed to represent G-Style at the
17th TESOL Seminar in Budapest, Hungary.
I would be very grateful if you could let
me have your full postal address so that
we can send you a signed invitation. In
the meantime, please find attached the
draft programme and other documents
concerning the seminar.
E-MAIL No. 2: From a Family Member
(equal status/ high affective involvement/ frequent contact)
HIIII!! thanks sooo much for sponsoring
me. im very very grateful. how are things?
so you can probably tell from the late
reply of this email that i havent really
got myself organised, though i have just
sent off my accommodation application form
for brown uni..ooo exciting. ive just
recovered from tonsillitis which wasnt fun
but im ok now and thats all that matters.
any news in hungary? not in hungary
generally, i could look that up on the net
if i wanted i mean any news with you?
JARGONS and ARGOTS
JARGON is especially defined in relationship to
a specific activity, profession, group, or event.
The term covers the language used by people
who work in a particular area or who have a
The term argot is also used to refer to the
informal specialized vocabulary from a
particular field of study, hobby, job, sport, etc.
the use of informal words and expressions that are not
considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are
considered acceptable in certain social settings
are words that are widely used in informal speech and writing but
are not accepted for formal use. They may be new words or old
ones used with a new meaning
is a part of every profession, trade, sport, school, and social
is invented the same way formal language is, its basis is usually
metaphor (a word or phrase that ordinarily means one thing but is
used for another thing to suggest a likeness between the two)
to say old
things in a
Absolute characteristics of ESP by Strevens
ESP consists of English language teaching which is:
1. designed to meet specified needs of the learner;
2. related in content (i.e. in its themes and topics) to
particular disciplines, occupations and activities;
3. centred on the language appropriate to those
activities in syntax, lexis, discourse, semantics, etc.,
and analysis of this discourse;
4. in contrast with General English
Modified Definition (Dudley-Evans & St. John,
At a 1997 Japan Conference on ESP, Dudley-Evans
and St. John postulated:
ESP is defined to meet specific needs of the learner;
ESP makes use of the underlying methodology and
activities of the discipline it serves;
ESP is centred on the language (grammar, lexis,
register), skills, discourse and genres appropriate
to these activities.
Variable Characteristics of ESP (Dudley-Evans &
St. John, 1998)
o ESP may be related to or designed for specific
o ESP may use, in specific teaching situations, a
different methodology from that of general English;
o ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners,
either at a tertiary level institution or in a
professional work situation. It could, however, be
for learners at secondary school level;
o ESP is generally designed for intermediate or
o Most ESP courses assume some basic knowledge
of the language system, but it can be used with
beginners (1998, pp. 4-5).
TYPES of ESP (David Carter, 1983)
1. English as a
2. English for Academic
Purposes (EAP; EOP)
3. English with specific
English as a restricted language
The language used by hoteliers,
restaurateurs, or by waiters are
examples of English as a restricted
English for Academic and Occupational
In the 'Tree of ELT' (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987), ESP is broken
down into three branches:
a) English for Science and Technology (EST)
b) English for Business and Economics (EBE)
c) English for Social Studies (ESS)
Each of these subject areas is further divided into two
branches: English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English
for Occupational Purposes (EOP). An example of EOP for the
EST branch is 'English for Technicians' whereas an example of
EAP for the EST branch is 'English for Medical Studies.'
English with specific topics
Carter notes that it is only here where emphasis
shifts from purpose to topic. This type of ESP is
uniquely concerned with anticipated future
English needs of, for example, scientists
requiring English for postgraduate reading
studies, attending conferences or working in
1. The following words seem to belong to the same register,
2. Which of the following is a jargon of psychology?
3. Which of the following texts is a product of academic writing?
a) college application essay
b) conference paper
c) research proposal
d) project paper
e) all of the above
4. Which of the following words qualifies as slang?
d) scrub suit
e) none of the above
5. Which is an example of a course for English for Occupational
a) English for Classroom
b) English for Aviation
c) English for Research Writing
d) English for Social Advocacy
e) English for Forensic Studies
Gregory, M. (1967), "Aspects of Varieties Differentiation," Journal of Linguistics 3: 177–197.
Halliday, M.A.K. and R. Hasan (1976), Cohesion in English, London: Longman.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1964), "Comparison and translation," In M.A.K. Halliday, M.McIntosh and P.
Strevens, The linguistic sciences and language teaching. London: Longman.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1978), Language as Social Semiotic: the social interpretation of language and
meaning. Edward Arnold: London.
Joos, M.(1961), The Five Clocks, New York: Harcourt, Brace and World.
Quirk, R., Greenbaum S., Leech G., and Svartvik J. (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar of the
English Language, Longman, Harcourt.
Reid, T.B. (1956), "Linguistics, structuralism, philology," Archivum Linguisticum 8.
Swales, J. (1990), Genre Analysis. English in Academic and Research Settings, Cambridge: Cambridge
Trosborg, A. (1997), "Text Typology: Register, Genre and Text Type," In Text Typology and
Translation: 3–23. (ed: Anna Trosborg), John Benjamins.
Trudgill, P.(1992), Introducing language and society, London: Penguin.
Wardhaugh, R. (1986), Introduction to Sociolinguistics, (2nd ed.), Cambridge: Blackwell
Werlich, E. (1982), A Text Grammar of English, Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer.