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Compiled by

Wachyu Sundayana
What is ESP?
 ESP in brief is the use of a particular variety of English in a
specific context of use and justified by learners’ needs.

 English for specific purposes (ESP) is 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, etc.
What is ESP?
 What distinguishes ESP is learners’ needs.

 ESP requires analysing language that is required in the


 conducting students’ needs analysis

 conducting interviews with subject matter specialists

in the area
 ‘ESP courses are those where the syllabus and

materials are determined in all essentials by the prior

analysis of the communication needs of the learner’

(p.2) Munby. (1978)

 Robinson (1980) has defined it as the teaching of English
to the learners who have specific goals and purposes.
According to him, these goals might be professional,
academic, scientific etc.

 Mackay and Mountford (1978, p. 2) have referred to it as

the teaching of English for “clearly utilitarian purposes”.
These specific purposes are academic, professional or
scientific ones that clearly depend on the learners’ needs
 Dudley-Evans, T. & St. John, M.J. (cf. 1998) offer a
modified definition and express their revised view on the
essence of ESP from two perspectives: absolute
characteristics and variable characteristics.
Characteristics of ESP
 Absolute Characteristics

 ESP is defined to meet specific needs of the learners

 ESP makes use of underlying methodology and

activities of the discipline it serves
 ESP is centered on the language appropriate to
these activities in terms of grammar, lexis, register,
study skills, and discourse.
Variable characteristics

 May be related to or designed for specific disciplines

 May use, in specific teaching situations, a different

methodology from that of General English

 Likely to be assigned for adult learners

 Generally designed for intermediate or advanced

ESP and GE Distinction
1. Learners
ESP – working adults
EGP – high school students
2. Aims
ESP – to meet the needs of particular
EGP – to improve overall English
competence involving a range of skills
(reading, writing, speaking, listening,
vocab, grammar, pronunciation etc)
Comparison of EGP and ESP
 1. the focus is on training;
 1. the focus is often on  2. As English is intended to be
education; used in specific vocational
 2. As the learners’ future needs contexts, the selection of the
are impossible to predict, the appropriate content is easier;
course content is more difficult  3. It is important for the
to select; content in the syllabus to have
 3. Due to the above point it is a high surrender value, most
important for the content in relevant to the vocational
the syllabus to have a high context;
surrender value.  4. The aim may be to create a
restricted English competence.
ESP Family Tree



Historical Development of ESP
3 main reasons to the emergence of ESP
1. Demands of the world after WW2
 expansion in science and technology
 English became the language of tech. and
commerce, and research
 This created a demand for a generation of
learners who needed the language for the
specific purposes of tech and commerce
 The constraints of time and money created a
need for cost-effective courses
2. A revolution in linguistics
- Shifted of focus from grammar to communication.
- Realization of language variation from context to context: hence,
differences in English for commerce and English for engineering.
- As language varies from situation to situation, it should be possible to
determine the features of specific situations, making them the basis of
the learners’ courses.
- A rise in the expansion of research in English for Science and Tech and
English for Business.
3. Developments in educational psychology
 Focus on student-centred learning.
 Learners are seen to have different needs and interests,
which have an influence on their motivation to learn and
therefore on the effectiveness of their learning.
 The standard way of achieving this was to take texts
from the learners’ specific area of study/work.
 The assumption is that the relevance of the English
course to their needs would improve the learners’
motivation and make learning better and faster.
 The growth of ESP was due to:

 The expansion of demand for English to suit particular


 Developments in the field of linguistics

 Developments in the field educational psychology.

 All three factors pointed to the need for specialization

in learning English.
. Read the following topics in related resources
(textbook and online materials)
1. The History of ESP (Johns, A.M. 2013 in Paltridge, B.
And Starfield, S. “The Handbook of ESP)
2. Approaches to ESP Course Design