Stephen van Vlack Sookmyung Women’s University Graduate School of TESOL
English for Specific Purposes (ESP)
Spring 2006 Week 3 - ESP Chapters 2 and 3 & Ellis & Johnson (1994), PART ONE, pp. 3-39 - Answers 1. What are the four stages of ESP? The development of ESP as a specific approach in English Language Teaching (ELT) is the result of four basic stages. The approach which we now call ESP developed as a direct result of developments in these different areas listed below. In the same vein, ESP is reliant on using the same types of analysis. When developing and ultimately conducting in ESP course the designer needs to go through and make a thorough analysis using all these different considerations. Register Analysis The basic idea behind register analysis is something that we already talked about in class last week, namely, that in different situations people will shift into different registers. This is the basic idea and it is an idea which has been around since the 1960s. At the time researchers began to become more interested in social aspects of language and what they found was that a single individual in the course of a day would change the way they spoke many, many different times. In fact every time these test subjects entered a new situation their language would change to better suit the situation in which they now found themselves. Register analysis is a study of such changes. Now in the course of investigating is what researchers also found was that many of these changes were related to occupations or, in a more general sense, actions. It is important to remember that actions don’t occur individually but occur with groups so groups to a certain extent are defined by the actions they take or engage in together. An important indicator membership in any group would be the ability to shift your register into the group approved register. This means that different groups are going to use obviously different
vocabulary items, but are also going to need to use formulaic expressions as well as maybe even different structural uses of language. All this is patterned behavior and group members will quickly be able to see based on their language use who is in and who is out of the group. How ESP has dealt with this is somewhat unique in that while register analysis is not a new idea the idea of actually teaching different registers for, again specific purposes, is unique. In ESP one of the major goals in developing a particular curriculum is to train students in the forms they will actually need (a particular register) in a specific situation or group in which they might need to work or function. Plus, training books for mechanics, computer engineers, and even academics are developed following the basic idea of register. In order to do this, however, one first needs to analyze the register. In ESP practitioner needs to get a fairly good idea of how the register which they will be trying to teach is actually composed. Rhetorical or Discourse Analysis Rhetorical or what is often called discourse analysis takes the idea of register analysis and brings it up to the next level. While register analysis often focuses on specific vocabulary items and sentence level grammar and structure, rhetorical analysis deals with how language is organized above the sentence level. The key word here is organization. As with register analysis it was noticed quite some time ago that different professions require people to organize their language use differently. This organization relates both to spoken and two written language. For spoken language were basically thinking about transactions. It is certainly true that different professions require people to engage in different types of transactions and Saints transactions are often formulaic it should certainly be possible for teachers to introduce specific transactional formulas to their students who will ultimately need to use these for their own personal gain. In written form we are talking...
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