Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 12 : 9 September 2012
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.
         G. Baskaran, Ph.D.
         L. Ramamoorthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Managing Editor: Swarna Thirumalai, M.A.


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The Issues Involved in ESP Course Design

Deepika Nelson, Ph.D.
Julia Devardhi, Ph.D.
Adinew Tadesse, M.A.


English for Specific Purposes (ESP) has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade. Course design is one of the key stages in ESP. Hutchinson and Waters see ESP as an approach rather than a product, by which they mean that ESP does not involve a particular kind of language, teaching material and methodology. Language varieties are self-contained entities which extend from a common core of language. This paper has highlighted some of the issues involved in ESP curriculum development. The main focus is on the topic of language varieties and on the type of investigation ESP curriculum developers use to identify the gap between what learners already know and what they need to know in order to study or work in their specific target environments. Apart from this it examines the topic of wide- versus narrow-angled course designs.

Key Words: Language Variety, English for Specific purpose, Wide angle, Narrow angled, course design.


English language is deemed significantly important in almost every area of discipline especially in this globalised era where communications among individuals all over the world are borderless and through a variety of channels. With the globalization of trade and economy and the continuing increase of international communication in various fields, the demand for English for Specific Purposes is expanding, especially in countries where English is taught as a foreign language (Gao, 2007). Johns & Dudley-Evans (2001, 115) state that, ‘the demand for English for specific purposes… continues to increase and expand throughout the world.’ The ‘internationalism’ (Cook, 2001, 164) of English seems to be increasing with few other global languages, i.e. Spanish or Arabic, close to competing with it. Belcher (2006, 135) states that ‘ESP assumes that the problems are unique to specific learners in specific contexts and thus must be carefully delineated and addressed with tailored to fit instruction.’ Mohan (1986, 15) adds that ESP courses focus on preparing learners ‘for chosen communicative environments.’ Learner purpose is also stated by Graham & Beardsley (1986) and learning centeredness (Carter, 1983; Hutchinson & Waters, 1987) as integral parts of ESP. Lorenzo (2005, 1) reminds us that ESP ‘concentrates more on language in context than on teaching grammar and language structures.’

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Deepika Nelson, Ph.D.

Julia Devardhi, Ph.D.

Adinew Tadesse, M.A.

Haramaya University
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
School of Foreign Language Studies
Ethiopia 251

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