English for specific purposes [Archives:2004/706/Education]

January 26 2004

By Dr. Bashar Ghazi Askar
[email protected]

English is a language used all over the world as a common means of communication. General English is concerned with the variety of the language used for different purposes such as introducing people, discussing various ideas, exchanging views, corresponding with others and so forth. English for specific or special purposes, on the other hand, focuses on developing communicative competence in specific or specialized fields such as physics, business, medicine and so on. English for specific purposes resulted in the expansion of one particular aspect of English language teaching to non-native speakers of English. The clientele of English for special purpose are groups of learners whose needs are more than the kind of general English taught in pre-university education. In fact they need the register-based English, which would help them in their higher studies as well as in their occupations. Those working in business or commerce need such type of English as is used for business. English for science and technology is an important aspect of English for specific purposes. It is especially meant for scientists who need to learn English related to their specialized fields. This type of English involves the specialized use of vocabulary items, grammatical forms and language functions, which are common to the study of science and technology. English for occupational or professional purposes is intended to help students use English after graduation in their future careers. For example, many jobs in the Arab World require a specialized type of English to carry out such jobs or careers successfully. Secretarial works, banking, accountancy and other related careers require a knowledge of a special kind of English in addition to general English. Doctors, engineers and businessmen need a specialized knowledge of English related to their respective fields to read relevant books, journals as well as to attend conferences or communicate or receive ideas at a global level.