English for Specific Purposes
What is ESP?
What is not ESP?
ESP vs. EGP
Absolute & Variable Characteristics of ESP
Needs & Needs Analysis
Approaches to Needs Analysis
Methods of Needs Analysis
Role of ESP Teachers
ESP Family Tree
Shortly, ESP can be defined as the use of a
particular variety of English in a specific setting of
use which is justified towards the learners’ needs.
Some people describe ESP as simply being the
teaching of English for any purpose that can be
ESP is not just a matter of teaching specialised
varieties of English
ESP is not just a matter teaching of special
vocabulary and grammar
ESP is not so different in kind from any other
form of language teaching
ESP – specially designed for (working) adults
EGP – specially designed for high school
ESP –the objective is to meet the needs of
EGP – to improve overall English
competence involving a range of skills
(reading, writing, speaking, listening,
vocab, grammar, pronunciation etc)
3. Concerns: sphere of interest
ESP – to design suitable courses for
different types of groups of learners in
accordance with their needs.
EGP – designing courses targeting at
vocabulary work, spelling, grammar,
pronunciation, language functions etc…
the emergence of ESP. The 3 Reasons:
1. Demands of the world after WW2
a) advancements in science, technology and
commerce led to a requirement for a
b) English became the language for technology and
c) After the Oil Crisis of the early 1970, Western money
and knowledge had flowed into the oil-rich countries.
Soon, the language of this knowledge became English
2. A revolution in linguistics
- New ideas began to emerge in the field of language as the
demands for English was growing.
- Language teaching shifted from focus on structure to focus on
- Linguists agnised that language differs from context to context and
that there are fundemental differences in English for commerce
and English for engineering.
- They recognised that if language can change from situation to
situation, then it ought be possible to set the characteristics of
specific situations and then make those features the basis of the
- This then gave rise to an expansion of research in Eng for Sc and
Tech and Eng for Business.
- In brief, the English needed by a particular group of learners could
be identified by analysing the linguistic characteristics of their
specialist area of work or study.
- ‘Tell me what you need English for and I will tell you the English
3. Developments in educational psychology
-The new developements in educational psychology led
to the rise of ESP.
- Learners are seen to have various requirements and
interests, which have an impact on their motivation to
learn and ,thus, on the effectiveness of their learning.
- This resulted in the development of courses in relation
to learners needs and interests.
- The standard way of achieving this was to take texts
from the learners’ specific area of study/work.
- The anticipation is that the relevance of the English
course to their needs would cause the learners’
motivation which would result in a better and faster
In short, the spread of ESP was then brought
about by the combination of these three factors:
the expansion of demand for English to meet
particular needs and evolutions in the fields of
linguistics and educational psychology.
All three factors underlines the need for
specialisation in learning English.
ESP is all about to meet specific needs of the
ESP makes use of underlying methodology and
activities of the discipline it serves
ESP is centred around the language suitable to
these activities in terms of grammar, lexis,
register, study skills, discourse and genre.
. in particular teaching settings, ESP may use a
different methodology from that of General
Likely to be assigned for adult learners
In general, the courses are designed for
intermediate or advanced learners
A 'need’ can be defined as a condition or situation in which
something is required or wanted.
teachers should be aware of the requirements of the students
towards learning the language before designing the curriculum
The term 'needs analysis’ in general refers to the
activities that are involved in collecting info that will
serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will
meet the needs of a particular group of students.
The concept of needs in ESP can be understood in
a. goal-oriented needs (target needs): communication in
the target situation.
b. process oriented needs (learning needs): what the
learner needs to do in order to learn.
WHY IS LANGUAGE NEEDED?
.for a combination of these
HOW WILL THE LANGUAGE BE USED?
.Medium: speaking, writing, reading etc.
Channel: e.g.: telephone, face to face ,e-mailing etc.
Types of text or discourse: e.g.: academic text, lectures,
WHAT WILL THE CONTENT AREAS BE?
.Subjects: e.g.: e.e. engineering, arch., business etc.
Level: undergraduate, postgraduate, technician etc.
WHERE WILL THE LANGUAGE BE USED?
.Physical Setting: e.g.: office, hotel, lecture theatre, workshop, library etc.
.Human Context: alone, meetings, demonstrations, on phone etc.
.Linguistic Context: e.g.: in own country, abroad.
WHEN WILL THE LANGUAGE BE USED?
.Concurrently with the ESP course.
It involves all aspects of the teaching process,
a variety of teaching methods and teaching
the steps and so on, to conduct pre-planning,
arranging and teaching situation in order to
achieve teaching objectives.
PSA could be positioned as a complement to
Target Situation Analysis .
If TSA tries to establish what the learners are
expected to be like at the end of the language
course, Present Situation Analysis attempts to
identify what they are like at the beginning of
The PSA can be carried out by means of established
placement tests; however, the background info, level of
education etc. can provide enough info about their
present abilities which can thus be predicted to some
i) The ESP practitioner as a teacher
ii) The ESP practitioner as course designer or
iii) The ESP practitioner as researcher
iv) The ESP practitioner as evaluator
EOP (English for Occupational Purposes)
EAP (English for Academic Purposes)
Acronyms in ESP
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning)
EBP (English for Business Purposes)
ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes)
EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes)
EMP (English for Medical Purposes)
EOP (English for Occupational Purposes)
EPP (English for Professional Purposes)
EST (English for Science and Technology)
EVP (English for Vocational Purposes)
EWP (English for/in the Workplace)
Putting into nutshell, ESP is not a different variety of English but it is a
contextual and need base situation in which some specific purposes of
language functions are gained.
English for Specific Purposes is not a different variety of English in its
nature. In the sense of linguistic terminology ESP means, what learner
needs in target situation or what he/she wants about this function of
language usage or what his/her needs are according to his/her own
views. Needs analysis is a process which is undertaken by trainers,
teachers and course designers to ascertain the pre-requisites for
developing a course along with its plan implementation.
In theory, ESP is not very different than EGP, nevertheless; in practise
there is a great deal of difference between them.
Bhatia, V. J. (undated). Applied genre analysis and ESP. Available at:
Brindley, G. (1989). The role of needs analysis in adult ESL program design. In: Johnson,
R .K. (Ed). The second language curriculum (pp.63-78). Cambridge: Cambridge
Hutchinson, T., and Waters, A. (1987). English for specific purposes: A learning-
centered approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jordan, R. R. (1997). English for academic purposes: A guide and resource book for
teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.