Past and Future of ESP by Ken Hyland

Ken Hyland

Ken Hyland is Professor of Applied Linguistics and director of the Centre for Applied English Studies at   the university of Hong Kong. He has published over 150 articles and 18 books on language education and academic writing. He was founding co-editor of the Journal of English for Academic Purposes and is now co-editor of Applied Linguistics, one of the most relevant publications on linguistics matters in the whole world.

Read the following article included with 20th aniverary Ibérica issue and answer to the following questions:

Which are the main fields dealt in this article about ESP?

Name some of the pioneers ESP authors mentioned by Hyland in the text as well as any relevant work.

Why is EAP referred so many times in this article?

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2 thoughts on “Past and Future of ESP by Ken Hyland

  1. Hyland (2012: 31) quotes Swales’ (1985) Episodes in ESP to refer the names of pioneer authors, among which stand out the following: Ewer and Latorre, Selinker, Trimble and, of course, the ESP factotum himself John M. Swales.
    The development of the study of languages for specific purposes, in spite of the initial controversies concerning nomenclature, has been going on for more than half a century already. However, as occurs with translation studies, the emergence of new branches and its consideration as a subject worthy of a space of its own in university curricula is quite a recent phenomenon.
    Later on in the paper Hyland offers an optimistic view of the future of English for Academic Purposes (EAP for short): ‘[…] it keeps its feet firmly on the ground and tries to make its research relevant to understanding the communicative realities of the academy and the classroom’ (p. 40). Such a view is, perhaps, too optimistic. Although EAP may be very relevant for learners who either find so-called General English only loosely applicable to their daily professional lives or who feel the need to acquire more in-depth knowledge of a specific subject of their interest, too high a degree of specialization -especially at tertiary education levels- would probably lead EAP scholars to falling into the same practices they denounced in others: obscurity and elitism.

  2. 1. What are the main fields dealt with in this article about ESP?
    This article offers an overview of the history of LSP, and particularly EAP as a sub-discipline. Hyland puts forward that the main features of the period from 1992 to 2012 are “focusing on increased specialization, the coming to dominance of genre and corpus analyses, the opening up of teaching paradigms related to social participation, identity and learner experience, and the growth of non-Anglo practitioners in research and publishing.”
    2. Name some of the pioneers ESP authors mentioned by Hyland in the text as well as any relevant work.
    * Swales’ (1985) Episodes in ESP
    * Pioneers: Ewer and Latorre (1969), Selinker (in Trimble et al., 1981), Trimble (1985) and Swales (1991)
    * Janet Holmes (1988): “found massive discrepancies in the ways that hedging was presented in a selection of EFL textbooks compared with what went on in real life”
    * Greg Myers (1992): subject textbooks made poor teaching sources as they did not represent the sort of interactions that students needed to write their own texts
    * In Papua New Guinea the author (Hyland) coincided with Bill Robinson and Colin Baron, who were organizing their classes in innovative ways to link ESP tasks to students’ disciplinary work. Eg. Colin got his students to build and test model rice silos and cranes using newspapers, and they then had to write a report on the process.
    * Jim Martin (1985)
    * Fran Christie (1985)
    * Hyland (1990): based his paper on the analysis of the argumentative essay scripts written by Papua New Guinea High School students.
    Hyland & Hyland (1992): published a paper based on their PNG business English course “Go for Gold”.
    3. Why is EAP referred so many times in this article?
    The answer to this question may be found in a statement shared by Hyland on p. 31: “EAP has come to represent the default response of the ELT profession to language education in higher education.”

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