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1. What is the origin of ESP ?

The answer by Lala Ramadhani and Wiwik Yusiani

English for specific purpose. The originin of ESP is...
As with most developments in human activity, ESP was not a
planned and coherent movement, but rather a phenomenon that
grew out of a number of converging trends. There are three main
reasons common to the emergence of all ESP:

1. The demands of a Brave New World

The general effect of all this development was to exert pressure
on the language teaching profession to deliver the required
goods. Whereas English had previously decided its own destiny,
it now become subject to the wishes, needs and demands of
people other than language teacher.
English had become accountable to the scrutiny of the wider
world and the traditional leisurely and purposes free stroll
through the landscape of the English language seemed no
longer appropriate in the harsher realities of the market place.
2. A Revolution in Linguistics
Traditionally the aims of linguistics had been to describe the
rules of English usage, that is the grammar. In English language
teaching this gave rise to the view that there are important
differences between, say, the English of commerce and that of
Most of the work at this time was in the area of English for
Science and technology (EST) and for time ESP and EST were
regarded as almost synonymous. The gained ground that
English needed by a particular group of learners could be
identified by analyzing the linguistic characteristics of their
specialist area of work or study.
3. Focus of the Learner
New developments in educational psychology also contributed
to the rise of ESP, by emphasizing the central importance of the
learners and their attitude to learning (e.g. Rodgers, 1969).
Learners were seen to have different needs and interest, which
would have an important influence or their motivation to learn
and therefore on the activeness of their learning. This lent

support to the development of courses in the which relevance

to the learners need and interests was paramount.1

2. Please explain the development of ESP?

The answer by Diana Tria Candra Dewi and Ani Malasari
The development of ESP it is now in a fourth phase with a fifth phase
of development starting to emerge from it is previous three main
phases of development started in the early beginnings of 1960s.
1. The concept of special languange : register analysis
This stage operates on the basic principle that the English, of, say,
Electrical Enginering constituted a spesific register different from
other registers such Biology or of General English. The aim of the
analysis was to identify the grammatical and lexical features of the
The main motive behind register analyses such as Ewer and
latorres was the pedagogic one of making the ESP course more
relevant to learners needs. The aim was to produce a syllabus which
gave high priority to the languange forms students would meet in
their Science studies and in turn would give low priority to forms
they would not meet.
2. Beyond the sentence : rhetorical or discourse analysis
On the second phase of development, ESP became closely involved
with the emerging field of discourse or rhetorical analysis. This
phase gives more understanding how sentences were combined in
discourse to produce meaning.
The basic hypothesis of this stage, expressed by Allen and
Widdowson (1974): The difficulties which the students encounter
arise not so much from a defective knowledge of the system of
English, but from an unfamiliarity with English use, and that
consequently their needs cannot be met by a course which simply
provides further practice in the composition of sentences, but only
by one which develops a knowlede of how sentences are used in the
performance of different communicative acts.
1 Tom hutchinson and alan waters.English for specific purposes a learning centred york:cambridge univercity press cambridge.1987,p.6

Register analysis had focussed on sentence grammar, but in

rhetorical or discourse analysis, the attention and focus is to
understanding how sentences were combined in discourse to
produce meaning.
The concern of research, therefore was to identify the organisational
patterns in texts and to specify the linguistic means by which these
patterns are signalled. These patterns would then form the syllabus
of the ESP course.
The typical teaching materials based on the discourse approach
taught students to recognise textual patterns and discourse
3. Target situation analysis
On the third phase development of ESP, it aimed was to take the
existing knowledge and set it on a more scientific basis, by
establishing procedures for relating languange analysis more closely
to learners reasons for learning.
The ESP course design process should proceed by first identifying
the target situation and then carrying out a rigorous analysis of the
linguistic features of that situation. The identified features will form
the syllabus of the ESP course.
This stage process is usually known as needs analysis, but
according to Chambers (1980) term of target situation analysis,
it is more accurate description of the process concerned.
4. Skills and strategies
The fourth stage of ESP has seen an attempt to look below the
surface and to consider not the languange itself but the thinking
processes that underlie languange use.
The principal idea behind the skill-centred approach is that
underlying all languange use there are common reasoning and
interpreting processes, which, regardless of the surface forms,
enable the students to extract meaning from discourse.
The focus should be on underlying interpretive strategies, which
enable the learner to cope with the surface forms, for example
guessing the meaning of words from context, using visual layout to
determine the type of text, exploiting cognates (words which are
similar in the mother tongue and the target languange).
A focus on spesific subject registers is unnecessary in this approach,
because the underlying processes ae not specific to any subject

As has been noted, in terms of materials this approach generally
puts the emphasis on reading or listening strategies. The
characteristic exercises get the learners to reflect on analyse how
meaning is produced in and retrieved from written or spoken
5. A learning-centred approach
All of the stages outlined so far have been fundamentally flawed, in
that they are all based on descriptions of languange use. Whether
this description is of surface forms, as in the case of register
analysis, or of underlying processes, as in the skills and strategies
approach, the concern in each case is with describing what people
do with languange. A trully vaid approach to ESP must be based on
an understanding of the processes of languange learning.
The Conclusion
All of the stages described so far are the stages of the development
of ESP from it is started in the early beginnings on the 1960s until
todays uses. These stages started by identifying and analysing
learners register and focused on sentence level, and on second
stages. ESP became closely involved with the emerging field of
discourse or rhetorical analysis.
On third stages, what to aimed to do was to take the existing
knowledge and set it on a more scientific basis, by establishing
procedures for relating laguange analysis more closely to learners
reasons for learning. On the fourth stages the focus is in underlying
3. Please explain the reason, why do ESP is an approach not product !
The answer by Nanang Susanto
Because ESP is not a particular kind of language or methodology,
nor does it consist of a particular type of teaching material.
Understood properly, it is an approach to language learning, which
is based on learner need2.
4. Please give a simple analogy of ESP as an approach ?
2 Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters, English for Specific Purposes: A learningcentered approach, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p.19.

The answer by Ummu Habibah Rahmah

The topmost branches just below this level at which individual ESP
course occur. The branches just below this level indicate that these may
conveniently be divided into two main types of ESP differentieated
according to whether the learner requieres English for academic study
(EAP: English for Academic Purposes) or for work/training
(EOP/EVP/VESL :English for Occupational Purpose/English for Vocational
Purpose/Vocational English as a Second Language). this is, not a clear-cut
distinction : people can work and study simultaneously : it is also liekely
that in many cases the language learnt for immediate use in a study
environment will be used later when the student takes up, or returns to, a
At the next level down it is possible to distinguish ESP course by the
general nature of the learners specialism. Three large categories are
usually identified here : EST (English for Science and Technology), EBE
(English for business and Economics) and ESS (English for the social
Science). This last is not common, probably because it is not thought to
differ significantly from more traditional humanities-based General
As we go down the tree, we an see that ESP is just one branches
EFL/ESL, which are themselves the main branches of English Language
Teaching in general. ELT, in turn is ine variety of the many possible kinds
of language teaching.

But, there is more to a tree than is visible above ground : a tree cannot
survive without roots. The roots which nourish the tree of ELT are
communication and learning.3

3 Tom Hutchinson and Alan Waters, English for Specific Purposes: A learningcentered approach, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1987), p.16-17