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The Developmetn of ESP

(2009-09-20 23:56:46)
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专门用途英语

分类: ESP理论概述

The Developmetn of ESP

From its erarly beginnings in the 1960s ESP has undergone three main phases of development . It is now in a fourth phase with a fifth phase starting to emerge .

  ESP is not a monolithic universal phenomenon . It has developed at different speeds in different countries .

   EST has been particularly important in the development of ESP. Swales ( 1985) in fact uses the development of EST ( English for Science and Technology) to illustrate the development of ESP in general:

   ‘ With one or two exceptions….English for Science and Technology has always set and continues to set the trend in theoretical discussion , in ways of anlysing language , and in the variety of actual teaching materials.’

 1. The concept of special language : register analysis (1960s---1970s)

Time and representative:  Ths stage took place mainly in the 1960s and early 1970s and was associated in particular with the work of Peter Strevens ( Halliday , Mcintosh and Strevens , 1964), Jack Ewer ( Ewer and Latorre, 1969) and John Swales(1971).

Principles:  Operating on the basic principle that the English of Electrical Engineering constituted a specific register different from that of Biology or of General English , the aim of the analysis was to identify the grammatical and lexical features of these registers . Teaching materials then took these linguistic features as their syllabus .Register analysis had focussed on sentence grammar.

A good example of such a syllabus is that of A Course in Basic Scientific English by Ewer and Latorre( 1969)

1)      Simple Present Active

2)      Simle Present Passive

3)      Simple Present Active and Passive

4)      –ing forms

5)      Present Perfect; Present Continuous

6)      Infinitives

7)      Anomalous Finites

8)      Past Perfect; Conditionals

   Aim or advantages:  The main motive behind register analyses such as Ewer and Latorre’s 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 language forms students would meet in their Science studies and in turn would give low priority to forms they would not meet .

  Example:  Ewer and Hughes-Davies(1971) compared the language of the texts their Science students had to read with the langugage of some widely used school textbooks . They found that the school textbooks neglected some of th elanguag eforms commonly found in Science texts, for example , compund nouns , passives , conditonals , anomalous finites ( i.e. modal verbs) . Their conclusion was that the ESP course should , therefore , give precedence to these forms.

  Disadvantage: 1) As Ewer and Latorre’s syllabus shows , register analysis revealed that there was very little that was distinctive int eh sentence grammar of Scientific English beyond a tendency to favour particular forms such as the present simple tense , the passive voice and nominal compound. It did not reveal any forms that were not found in General English.

2)  In the first stage of its development , ESP had focussed on language at the sentence level.

2. Beyond the sentence : rhetorical or discourse analysis.( 1974---1985)

  Time and representative:  The second phase of development shifted attention to the level above the sentence , as ESP became closely involved with the emerging field of discourse or rhetorical analysis. The leading lights in this movement were Henry Widdowson in Britain and the so-called Washington School of Larry Selinker , Louis Trimble , John Lackstrom and Mary Todd-Trimble in the United States.

Principles: The basic hypothesis of this stage is succinctly expressed by Allen and Widdowson( 1974) :

  ‘ We take the view that the difficulties which the students encounter arise not so much from a defctive 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 simplyprovides further practice in the composition of sentences , but onl by one which develops a knowledge of how sentences are used in the performance of different communication acts.’

  It focussed on understanding how sentences were combined in discourse to produce meaning. The concern of research was to identify the organisational patterns in texts and to specify the linuistic means by which these patterns are signalled . These patterns would then form the syllabus of the ESP course . The Rhetorical Process Chart below ( from EST : A Discourse Approach by Louis Trimble ( 1985) is reprentative of this approach:

 

   Rhetorical Process Chart ( 修辞过程图)

 

 

Level                   Description of level

  The objectives of the total discourse

   EXAMPLES: 1 Detailing an experiment

               2. Making a recommendation

                3. Presenting new hypotheses or theory

                4. Presenting other types of EST information

The general rhetorical functions that develop the objectives of level A

  EXAMPLES:  1. Stating purpose

                2. Reproting past research

                3. Stating the problem

                4. Presenting information on apparatus used in an experiment-

               a) Description

               b) Operation

              5. Presenting information on experimental procedures

C. The specific rhetorical functions that develop the general rhetorical functions of Level B

   EXAMPLES: 1. Description :physical , function , and process

              2. Definition

3. Classification

4. In structions

5. Visual- verbal relationships

D. The rhetorical techniques that provide relationships within and between the rhetorical units of Level C

EXAMPLE: I Orders

1.       Time order

2.       Space order

3.       Causality and result

II  Paterns

1.       Causality and result

2.       Order of importance

3.       Comparison and contrast

4.       Analogy

5.       exemplification

6.       Illustration

Aim or advantages: As in stage 1 there was a more or less tacit assumption in this approach that the rhetorical patterns of text organisation differed significantly between specialist areas ofuse : the rhetorical structure of science texts was regarded as different from that of commercial texts , for example .

Drawbacks:  However , this point was never very clearly examined ( see Swales , 1985, PP 70-1) and indeed paradoxically , the results of the research into the dicourse of subject-specific academic texts were also used to make observtions about discouse in general ( Widdowson, 1978).

   Application: The typical teaching materials based on the discourse approach taught students to recognise textual pattern and discourse markers mainly by means of text-diagramming exercises . The English in Focus series(OUP) is a good example of this approach.

  

Text-diagramming (文章诊断练习)

( from Reading and Thinking: Exploring Functions , OUP, 1979)

uses of natural materials

C usesof man-made materials

 

11 what does the use of a material depend on?

12 The material’s strength , etc, are examples of

13. which material is chosen?

Meet=satisfy

Material which meets the specifications

A $50

B $ 20

C $15 -choice

D the advantages of natural materials

 

The two dominat factors which determine the use of a material are its cost and its physical and chemical properties 11 . the specifications of the designers have to be matched against what is known about a material’s strength , hwo easily it conducts electricity , how quickly it corrodes ect. 12  But the material chosen for a given application is the one which most cheaply meets the specifications of the designers  13. Even when special material have to developed to meet a particular specification , the costs of production have to be carefully controlled .

9 complete the following table to summarize the paragraph.

 

 

When suitable materials are availabel

 

   Aainst the material’s properties.

properties

 

 

 Generaliztion

3. Target situation analysis

Drqwbacks:  This stage didn’t add anything to the range of knowledge about knowledge . The concept os needs that it was based on was far too simple.

Aims:  It aimed to take the existing knowledge and set it on a more scientific basis , by establishing procedures fro relating language 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 fratures will form the syllabus of the ESP course . This process is usually known as needs analysis . we prefer to take Chambers’ ( 1980) erm of ‘ target situation analysis’ , since it is more accurate description of the process concerned.

   The most thorough explanationof target situation analysis is the system set out by John Munby in Communicative Syllabus Design ( 1978) . The Munby model produces a detailed profile of the learners’ needs in terms of communication purposes , communicative seting , the means of communication , language skills , functions , structrues etc.

Merits:  This stage marked a certain ‘ coming of age’ for ESP . What had prviously been done very much in a piecemeal way , was now systematised and learner need was apparently placed at the centre of the course design process.

4. Skills and strategies ( 1980 ---

Review the previous stages:  The fist two stages had been of the surface forms of the language ( whethter at sentence level , as in register analysis, or above , as in discourse analysis). The analysis of learner neen it still looked mainly at the surface linguistic features of the target situation.

Aim: the 4th stage of ESP has seen an atempt to look below the surface and to consider not the language itself but the thinking processes that underlie language use .

  There is no dominat figure in this movement , altough we might mention the work of Francoise Grellet ( 1981) , Christine Nuttall ( 1982) and Charles Alderson and Sandy Urquhart ( 1984) as having made significant contributions to work on reading skills . Most of the work has been done close to the ground in schemes such as the National ESP Project in Brazil and the Universtiy of Malaya ESP Project( see ELT Documetns and Skills for Learning published by Nelson and the Univesity of Malaya Press)

   The projects have concentrated their efforts on reading strategies. The ESP project at King Mongdut’s Institute of Technology in Bangkok , Thailand  has to cope with a very similar study situation , but the focus here is on the full range of skills ( reading , writing , listening , speaking)

Principles : The principal idea is that underlying all language use there are common reasonin and interpreting processes , which , regardless of the suface forms , enable us to extract meaning from discourse . There is no need to focus closely on the surface forms of the language . The focus should rather be on the 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 . ------ A focus on specific subject registers is unnecessary in this approach , because the underlying processes are not specific to any subject register.

    Merits : The characeristic exercises get the learners to reflect on and analyse how meaning is produced in and retrieved from written or spoken discourse . Taking their cue from congnitve learning theories , the language learners are treated as thinking beings who can be asked to observe and verbalise their interretive processes they employin language use .

A learning – centred approach

Review the previous stages: All of the stages outlined so far have been fundamentally flawed , in that they are all based on descriptions of language use. The concern in each case is with describing what people do with language . But our concern in ESP  is not with language use – although this will help to define the course objectives . We cannot simply assume that describing and exemplifying what people do with language will enable someone to learn it . It that were so , we would need to do no more than red a grammar book and a dictionary in order to learn a language .

 Aim: our concern is with language learning . A truly valid approach to ESP must be based on an understanding of the processes of language learning.  This brings us to the 5th stage of        ESP development --- the learning-centered approach , which will form the subject of this book .

 

Tom Hutchinson & Alan Waters . English For Specific Purposes .Tom Hutchinson & Alan Waters . English For Specific Purposes . Cambridge University Press. 1987

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