ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSE VERSUS GENERAL ENGLISH
By: Group 1
1. Prima Sofiyana Dewi (082120159)
2. Satabiatun (082120177)
3. Sri Ismiyati (082120194)
As we know that English as a foreign language has two types. They are general English and English for specific purposes. Mostly the type based on teaching it’s self. The teaching specializes on general and specific. What is general English? What is ESP? What are the characteristics of ESP? Who use general English and specific English? It will be discussed in this paper. General English has link with specific English, especially for specific purpose, that is how English used to approach or teaching English for specific purpose. How do we teach people from different background and profession? It will also be answered in this paper.
Language, foreign language, English for specific purpose, general English, occupation, specific professional area.
Most of people think that language is very important to communicate each other, so they learn all about language knowledge. Nowadays, language focuses on specific professional area. ESP (English for Specific Purposes) has been referred to as "applied ELT (English Language Teaching)" as the content and aims of any course are determined by the needs of a specific group of learners. ESP is often divided into EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and EOP (English for Occupational Purposes). Further sub-divisions of EOP are sometimes made into business English, professional English and vocational English. For example English for doctors, lawyers, tourism and nursing, architecture, accountant, medical scientist, civil engineering, etc, so their learning focuses on learners need. Teaching and learning ESP includes much more than the teaching of English through specific material and content. Moreover, teaching ESP combines development of linguistic skills together with expertness of specific information. Additionally, assignment should be associated both with the specialty and the skills mentioned.
Teaching language for specific purpose is determined by the key question about needs of the learners, they are:
· What do students need to do with English?
· Which of the skills do they need to master and how well?
· Which genres do they need to master either for comprehension or production purposes?
Besides, learners do not think much of the way he is going to use his foreign language knowledge. They just learn fundamentals of grammar, the correctness of using language, and the necessity of learning.Teaching language for specific purpose is determined by different- professional/ occupational, social, and other-needs of the learners.
1. What are ESP and GE?
Ø The growth of ESP
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 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" (page 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 pressure on the language teaching profession to deliver the required goods. Whereas English had previously decided its own destiny, it now became subject to the wishes, needs and demands of people other than language teachers (Hutchinson & Waters, 1987, page 7).
The second key reason cited as having a tremendous impact on the emergence of ESP was a revolution in linguistics. Whereas traditional linguists set out to describe the features of language, revolutionary pioneers in linguistics began to focus on the ways in which language is used in real communication. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) point out that one significant discovery was in the ways that spoken and written English vary. In other words, given the particular context in which English is used, the variant of English will change. This idea was taken one step farther. If language in different situations varies, then tailoring language instruction to meet the needs of learners in specific contexts is also possible. Hence, in the late 1960s and the early 1970s there were many attempts to describe English for Science and Technology (EST).
The final reason Hutchinson and Waters (1987) cite as having influenced the emergence of ESP has less to do with linguistics and everything to do psychology. Rather than simply focus on the method of language delivery, more attention was given to the ways in which learners acquire language and the differences in the ways language is acquired. Learners were seen to employ different learning strategies, use different skills, enter with different learning schemata, and be motivated by different needs and interests. Therefore, focus on the learners' needs became equally paramount as the methods employed to disseminate linguistic knowledge. Designing specific courses to better meet these individual needs was a natural extension of this thinking. To this day, the catchword in ESL circles is learner-centered or learning-centered.
Ø The definition of ESP
English for specific purposes is recognizable activity within the broader professional framework of English Language Teaching (ELT), with implication for the design of syllabuses and materials as well as its present and then evaluation. On the other hand, ESP is the way how to teach English with approximation method for specific purpose. It is not focus on the kinds of language. It means that ESP brings into line what field the learners need. For example, English for doctors, lawyers, tourism and nursing, architecture, accountant, medical scientist, civil engineering, etc. Therefore, English will be taught differently among one field with others.
As for a broader definition of ESP, Hutchinson and Waters (1987) theorize, "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" (p. 19). Anthony (1997) notes that, it is not clear where ESP courses end and general English courses begin; numerous non-specialist ESL instructors use an ESP approach in that their syllabi are based on analysis of learner needs and their own personal specialist knowledge of using English for real communication.
Ann Johns states that while teaching English for Specific Purposes “all language teaching must be designed for the specific learning and language use purposes of identified groups of students” (Johns 1991: 67). The specific needs of the subject content may not require grammar or phonetics but the letters are always integrated into the process of teaching as they make an important part of the conveyance of the meaning both of the entire utterance and of its separate parts.
In that section, teachers will ask the learners about the purpose of their learning in English firstly.
Ø The definition of General English
English for General Purpose refers to context such as the school where needs can not readily be specified. It is more usefully considered as providing abroad foundation rather a detailed and selective specification of goals like ESP.
On the other hand, general language teaching covers the teaching of the fundamentals of grammar, of expression as well as of phonetics and provides a stronger or weaker basis for possible later language studies. In any case the language teacher both at a secondary and at a higher school is in charge of the correct use of the language by its learners.
2. Characteristic of English for Specific Purposes and General English
Theorists Dudley-Evans and St John (1998) modified Strevens' original definition of ESP to form their own. Let us begin with Strevens. He defined ESP by identifying its absolute and variable characteristics. Strevens' (1988) definition makes a distinction between four absolute and two variable characteristics:
Ø Absolute characteristics:
ESP consists of English language teaching which is:
§ designed to meet specified needs of the learner
§ related in content (i.e. in its themes and topics) to particular disciplines, occupations and activities
§ centered on the language appropriate to those activities in syntax, lexis, discourse, semantics, etc., and analysis of this discourse
§ in contrast with General English.
Ø Variable characteristics
ESP may be, but it is not necessarily:
§ restricted as to the language skills to be learned (e.g. reading only)
§ not taught according to any pre-ordained methodology (pp.1-2).
Anthony (1997) notes that there has been considerable recent debate about what ESP means despite the fact that it is an approach which has been widely used over the last three decades. At a 1997 Japan Conference on ESP, Dudley-Evans offered a modified definition. The revised definition he and St. John postulate is as follows:
Ø Absolute Characteristics
§ ESP is defined to meet specific needs of the learner;
§ ESP makes use of the underlying methodology and activities of the discipline it serves;
§ ESP is centered on the language (grammar, lexis, register), skills, discourse and genres appropriate to these activities.
Ø Variable Characteristics
§ ESP may be related to or designed for specific disciplines;
§ ESP may use, in specific teaching situations, a different methodology from that of general English;
§ ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners, either at a tertiary level institution or in a professional work situation. It could, however, be for learners at secondary school level;
§ ESP is generally designed for intermediate or advanced students;
§ Most ESP courses assume some basic knowledge of the language system, but it can be used with beginners (1998, pp. 4-5).
Dudley-Evans and St. John have removed the absolute characteristic that 'ESP is in contrast with General English' and added more variable characteristics. They assert that ESP is not necessarily related to a specific discipline. Furthermore, ESP is likely to be used with adult learners although it could be used with young adults in a secondary school setting.
3. The Differences between English for Specific Purpose and General English
Recently in the magazine English Teaching Professional (Rosenberg 2004: 36)
· Free-time activity
· More freedom in deviation from plan
· More time for games
· More relaxed atmosphere
· general writing skills
· social event
English for Specific Purposes
· specialized vocabulary
· motivation related to job
· teach negotiation and presentation
· students very goal-oriented
· more serious
· business correspondence
1. Focus on training
2. Selection of appropriate content is easier(but note not easy in itself)
3. The aim may only be to create a restricted English competence.
1. Often focus on education
2. Course content is more difficult to select
3. It is important for the content in the syllabus to have a high surrender value.
Widdowson (1983) differentiates English for Specific Purpose and General English:
The example of English for specific purpose
1. In order to train the tourist guide, the ESP class should promote the development of spoken skills.
2. One who intends to work in a business administration should be trained in development of reading skills.
The example of General English
Teaching in the primary, secondary, and adult tertiary focuses on teaching grammar and language structure (mostly in isolation).
From the paper, we conclude that ESP is language in context, while EGP is language in isolation. Though, the motivation and goals of the students studying English for specific purposes and General English are slightly different.
From all of ESP curriculum design, it can be concluded that General English (GE) language content, grammatical functions, and acquisition skills are important and dominant in curriculum development and course design.
The distinguish ESP from General English (GE) is an awareness of the need. In an ESP class language is as a “service” rather than a “subject” in its own sake.
Tom Hutchinson, Alan Waters.1987.English for Specific Purposes.Cambridge University Press:Scotland
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