Thursday, 10 September 2015


Peter  Strevens (cf. 1988, p.1-2) defines English for Specific Purposes (ESP) by making a distinction between its absolute characteristics which is designed to meet specified needs of the learner.

The objective is to meet specific needs of the learners which are:
i)                   English for Academic Purposes
ii)                 English for Occupational purposes
-          ESP combines development of linguistic skills together with expertness of specific information.

Characteristics of ESP  
1)     Absolute ESP
-          ESP needs the learner’s specific needs
-          ESP is related in content to particular activities and occupations
-          Is also in contrast with general English

However, according to Dudley-Evans, T & St John, M.J (cf. 1998) offered a modified definition and expressed their view on variable characteristics which are:

2)     Variable ESP
-          ESP may be used in specific teaching situations or methodology
-          ESP is likely to be designed for adult learners
-          It may also be used to teach intermediate and advanced students.

The most relevant features of ESP are:
-          The focus is on training
-          The aim is to create a restricted English competence.

Therefore, ESP is the way how to teach English with approximation method for specific purposes. Besides that, English will be taught differently among various different fields.

English for General Purposes (EGP) refers to contexts such as schools where needs cannot be readily specified. It is more useful to consider EGP providing a broad foundation rather than a detailed and selective specification of goals like ESP.

From Widdowson’s point of view (1983) there are several know features of EGP

i)                   The focus is often on education
ii)                 As the learners’ needs are impossible to predict, the course content is more difficult to select
iii)               Due to the broad selection of course content, the syllabus will have a high value.

The age of EGP learners varies from child to adult.  Mostly focus on grammar, language structure and general vocabulary. It is also responsible to the general language acquisition and for the vast majority of the learners. According to Hutchinson and Waters (1987), they state that there is no particular difference between ESP and EGP.

-    Essentially, the English Language is practiced for education in junior and senior high schools.

-    Learners are introduced to the sounds and symbols of English as well as to the lexical,  grammatical and rhetorical elements that compose spoken and written discourse.

-     It is usually conducted in the non-English speaking countries.

It focuses on context such as schools where the needs are not specified.
It focuses within the broader professional framework ELT.
A broad foundation
Detail and selective specification of goals
It is used in education system
Focusing on training
Varies from children to adult
For adults who already has exposed with English language
Used as a subject in class
Used for professional skill in order to perform particular-job-related function
Four skills are stressed equally (Speaking, Listening, Writing and Reading)
The skills are determined by the needs analysis
Emphasize on context
Focusing on the grammar and structure



Far. M.M. (2008). On the relationship between ESP & EGP : A general perspective.
Tomlinson. B. (2014). Developing materials for English teaching. Bloomsburry production.
Valeria. A, (2010). A general view on the relationship between EGP and ESP.


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