ENGLISH FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES*History and Development of ESP*First Two Stages of ESP
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT *There are three reasons common to the emergence of all ESP: the demands of a Brave New World, a revolution in linguistics, and focus on the learner (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987). *Hutchinson and Waters (1987) note the first reason and stated that two key historical periods breathed life into ESP. First, the end of the Second World War brought with it an " ... age of enormous and unprecedented expansion in scientific, technical and economic activity on an international scale · for various reasons, most notably the economic power of the United States in the post-war world, the role [of international language] fell to English" (p. 6). Second, the Oil Crisis of the early 1970s resulted in Western money and knowledge flowing into the oil-rich countries. The language of this knowledge became English.
*The general effect of all this development was to exert pressureon the language teaching profession to deliver the required goods.Whereas English had previously decided its own destiny, it nowbecame subject to the wishes, needs and demands of peopleother than language teachers (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987, p.7).*The second key reason cited as having a tremendous impact onthe emergence of ESP was a revolution in linguistics. Whereastraditional linguists set out to describe the features oflanguage, revolutionary pioneers in linguistics began to focus onthe ways in which language is used in real communication.Hutchinson and Waters (1987) point out that one significantdiscovery was in the ways that spoken and written English vary.*In the late 1960s and the early 1970s there were many attemptsto describe English for Science and Technology (EST).
*The final reason Hutchinson and Waters (1987) cite as havinginfluenced the emergence of ESP has less to do with linguisticsand everything to do psychology. Rather than simply focus on themethod of language delivery, more attention was given to theways in which learners acquire language and the differences inthe ways language is acquired. Learners were seen to employdifferent learning strategies, use different skills, enter withdifferent learning schemata, and be motivated by different needsand interests.*Designing specific courses to better meet these individual needswas a natural extension of this thinking. To this day, thecatchword in ESL circles is learner-centered or learning-centered.
STAGES OF ESP1. The Concept of Special Language: Register Analysis2. Beyond the Sentence: Rhetorical or Discourse Analysis3. Target Situation Analysis4. Skills and Strategies5. A learning-centered Approach
First Stage-The Concept of Special Language: Register Analysis*The aim of this analysis is to identify the grammatical and lexical featuresof the different registers, an example is that the English for ElectricalEngineering is entirely different from the English of Biology or GeneralEnglish. Register Analysis also reveals that there was very little that wasdistinctive in the sentence grammar of Scientific English and GeneralEnglish.*This analysis also aims to produce a syllabus which would give highpriority to the language forms students would need and in turn wouldgive low priority to forms that they would not meet. Here, the point ismade that language varies in relation to the different people who speak itand in relation to the different purposes to which it is put.*The register analysis phase has been criticized for being onlydescriptive, not explanatory.
SECOND STAGE-BEYOND THE SENTENCE: RHETORICAL OR DISCOURSE *The typical teaching materials based on the discourse approach taught students to recognize textual patterns and discourse markers mainly by means of text diagramming exercises. *The discourse analysis approach tended to concentrate on how sentences are used in the performance of acts of communication and to generate materials based on functions. *The first approach (register analysis) is quantitative and tells us what linguistic forms occur and how frequently while this new approach is qualitative and tells us what the forms count as communication and how they express elements of discourse.