English for Specific (ESP) has been one of the major areas in teaching of English, since the 1960s. ESP refers to the study of the English language used in educational purposes or professional use or teaching of English for vocational purposes. The main ESP concern has been that it needs analysis, and it prepares the students for effective communication in work or study situation. It is thought that ESP has no underpinning theory. However, according to Tony Dudley Evans (1998), his argument is that ESP could be outline grounded on particular nature of texts that English learners require information, or the kind of teaching based on related needs.
The significance and interest of this paper is concentrated on the procedures of ESP, in relation to the course design for the students’ precise requirements, usually more fascinating than the theoretical issues. ESP is part of the expansive teaching known as Language for Specific Purposes (LSP). LSP focuses on teaching languages like German and French for distinct purposes as well as in English. Nevertheless, in numerous occasions the strategy used are similar to those applied in ESP. ESP emphases on vocabulary learning and it is an exciting field of study.
The growth of ESP in the educational environment is indicated by the increasing number of Colleges and Universities that offer Masters of Arts (MA), like Aston University and The University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. This is also visible from the many ESP courses offered in universities of other English speaking nations. There is a wide variety of literature devoted to the discussion Course design of ESP.
Definition of ESP
(Duddley, 1998) stated that ESP is wired to meet specified needs, may utilize the methodologies and activities in the field of learning, may be applicable to adults, and assumes some level of general English knowledge.
(Hutchinson & Waters, 1987, p.1-5), defines ESP as a technique of studying language that focuses on the learners’ reason for learning that are related to method of learning and content to be learnt. Many non-specialist ESL teachers use the ESP mode of teaching since their syllabuses are grounded on the learner need analysis and personal knowledge of General English (Belcher, 2006, p. 133-156).
Difference between EGP and ESP
The difference between EGP and ESP is discussed in this literature and comes out both theoretically and practically. (Hyland, 2008, p. 4-21), 1987 states that there is no significant difference between EGP and ESP in theory, but there lays a big difference when used practically. However, ESP is different from in that the sentences and words learned and the course content discussed are applicable to a specific industry, discipline, and field (Kachru, 2006, p. 241-255). The syllabus design for ESP is geared towards addressing learners’ needs as they develop the necessary vocabulary in their field of study. ESP courses use vocabularies that are related to that field like effective ways of verbal negotiation and negotiation skills. A balance is established between practical use of the vocabularies and educational theory. ESP also improves the student’s spoken and written English skills.
English for General Purposes is the kind of language taught in senior and junior high school. Students are taught the rhetorical, grammatical and lexical that characterizes the English language. There is no specific focus in this type of language but focuses on the general application of English: it focuses on the everyday communication between people and classes on how to write and read English like in newspapers, textbooks, and magazines. EGP also focuses on the cultural facets of the second language.
ESP, however is English teaching that is established from EGP but with special focus and can only be used in specific occupations, fields, industry, cannot be applied in broader perspective. (Kaur & Khan, 2010, p.28), “ESP is an approach to language teaching in which all decisions as to content and method are based on the learner’s reason for learning.” In connection to that,( Basturkmen, 2010, p. 52-53) adds that ESP might not all the time be focused on one occupation or discipline as in English for Engineering or English for Law.
Types of English for Specific Purposes
English for Specific Purposes are categorized into three groups, English for Occupational Purposes (EOP), English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English as a Restricted Language.
English as a Restricted Language
Language used by airhostesses or traffic controllers are examples of restricted English. Mackay and Mountford vividly shows restricted with the statement below:
“… the language of international air-traffic control could be regarded as ‘special’, in the sense that the repertoire required by the controller is strictly limited and can be accurately determined situational, as might be the linguistic needs of a dining-room waiter or air-hostess.”
English for Occupational and Academic Purposes
This is the second type of ESP. (Tratnik, 2008, p. 3-13) states that English should be the central part of ESP though he does not go further. However, (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987) developed ESP into English for Social Studies, English for Economics and Business (EEB) (Bhatia & Bremner, 2012), English for Technology (EST) and English for Science (EST).
Hutchinson & Waters notes that there is no clear difference between EOP and EAP on grounds that individuals can study and work simultaneously and language and vocabulary learnt in class can be applied in work settings. This may be an explanation of why EAP and EOP are both classified as ESP. EOP is further divided into other groups such as Vocational English like English for nursing, aviation, engineering and tourism and business English or Professional English like English for Lawyers and doctors. However, this is not a conclusion that they are the same.
There are different vocabulary that are used in strictly certain industries. In the Food Service industry, we have vocabularies like package, workers, tips, services, marketing, drinking, consumption, preparation, stock, restaurants, orders, training, clerks, serving, customers and waiters. In the Medical Industry, there are sample English vocabularies like chiropractic, drugs, treatment, cancer, laser, dermatology, hematology, dentist, dermis, genetic, urology, immune, pregnancy and PSA test among other words. In the Hospitality and Hotel Industry there are sample English vocabulary like baggage, attractions, late charge, outdoor, indoor, bed and breakfast, housekeeping, bellboy, hotel manager, deposit, booked, complimentary, brochures, check-out, check-in, chef and house keeper.
English with Specific Topics
This is the third ESP type. It is different from other ESP types since it pays attention to topic rather than purpose. EST is a situational language used in postgraduate studies like master’s and doctoral degrees. It therefore should not be seen as a different kind of ESP but as a module of ESP college course unit, that pays attention to situational language (Al-Tamimi, & Shuib, 2009, p. 29-55)
According to (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987), ESP sees a strategy rather than a product through which it involves a specific kind of knowledge, methodology, teaching material and language. As afore mentioned in just a few sample industries regarding vocabulary in English for Specific Purposes, studies have grown widely. Today, many students learn vocational and academic English at a young age and a lower proficiency level.
The 3 C’s English for Specific Purposes
According to (Chilingaryan, 2012, p. 81-88), students cannot learn ESP by themselves but need to be taught by a mentor. He added that there are the three C’s for aiding teachers to enhance skills and knowledge in a particular ESP area and they can navigate their way into learning the vocabulary so long as they have the interest to learn the subject. Apart from Curiosity, learners need Collaboration between the instructors and senior learners, so that they show their work in order to comment and offer feedback. The most essential thing is Confidence to be able to explore the subject matter in question, involve subject experts, and learn from fellow students. If the above-mentioned three C’s are not there in a learner, then complete ESP study will not be achieved.
In addition, ESP is continually becoming an exciting field to study because people can commence learning ESP in any subject irrespective of their age. Second, the vocational learning and training globally is increasing. Third, globalization catalyzes the use of English as the global communication language. People of diverse lingual backgrounds use English in different contexts. Lastly, English is used in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Characteristics of ESP
According to Dudley Evans’ book titled ‘Development in English for Special Purposes’, the absolute ESP characteristics are that ESP is focused on the appropriate language that describes activities of a given field in terms of study skills, Lexis, grammar, genres, and discourse appropriate to those activities. ESP is meant to meet the distinct requirements of the students studying in a particular field. ESP is contrast with ‘General English’. ESP is linked in content either in its topic or in themes to certain occupations, discipline, and activities; it makes us use underpinning methodology (Duddley & ST, 1998).
English for Special Purposes are divided into variable and absolute characteristics specifically goes along way into solving arguments regarding what ESP is and what ESP is not. According to the definition by Dudley-Evans, ESP is not only deals with specific discipline but also focuses on certain ranges of ability or age groups. The characteristics of the variables of ESP are that, most ESP course programs assume certain basic knowledge of the language system. Second, ESP relates to specific disciplines. Third, ESP is designed for advanced and intermediate students. Fourth, ESP can be applied in specific situations of teaching which employs diverse methodology that is different from that of General English. Fifth, in most cases, ESP is intended for adult learners, at the professional and tertiary level. It also could be taught to students at the high school level (Duddley & ST, 1998).This can be taught in subjects like Biology, Economics, History, Physics, Mathematics, and Business studies.
(Far, 2008, p. 1-11) summarizes the characteristics of learning ESP in three different points. Those points are that Learning ESP saves on time since it just focuses on the needs of the learner. Second, there is a big relevance of the field of study to the learner and ESP effectively imparts only relevant information about the field of study in question.ESP is cheaper than General English due to numerous specific works as well as the eagerness of the learner to know more about the subject.
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Basturkmen, H., 2010. Developing courses in English for specific purposes.
Belcher, D.D., 2006. English for specific purposes: Teaching to perceived needs and imagined futures in worlds of work, study, and everyday life. TESOL quarterly, pp.133-156.
Belcher, D., 2009. What ESP is and can be: An introduction. English for specific purposes in theory and practice, pp.1-20.
Bhatia, V.K. and Bremner, S., 2012. English for business communication. Language Teaching, 45(04), pp.410-445.
Chilingaryan, K.P., 2012. ESP in the Modern Society. Academica Science Journal, Economica Series, 1(1), pp.81-88.
Dudley-Evans, T. & ST. Jhons, M. J. (1998) Developments in English for Specific Purposes, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
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Hyland, K., 2008. As can be seen: Lexical bundles and disciplinary variation. English for specific purposes, 27(1), pp.4-21.
Hutchinson, T. & Waters, A. (1987) English for Specific Purpose, A Learning Centred Approach, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Kachru, B.B., 2006. The English language in the outer circle. World Englishes, 3, pp.241-255.
Tratnik, A., 2008. Key issues in testing English for specific purposes. Scripta Manent, 4(1), pp.3-13.