English for Specific Purposes - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Dražena Bošković, Ivona Šetka Čilić


The phenomenon of English for specific purposes (ESP) occurred in 1960 as a result of a fast revolution in theoretical linguistics, followed by worldwide demands for a faster and better learning of the English language in both professional and academic environments, as well as a result of an increased pressure on educators and educational institutions to focus more on needs of students. English for specific purposes occurred within English Language Teaching (ELT); however, later, it became an autonomous subfield of applied linguistics. This article deals with major definitions of the concept, its origin, basic characteristics, followed by a discussion about the most prominent evolution phases of English for specific purposes. Furthermore, it tries to predict the future of this extremely important field. The article begins with an introduction where we present basic definitions and characteristics of the term. After that, we discuss the early years of English for specific purposes, key concepts with an emphasis on the notion of needs analysis and the modern era in which the genre becomes the central topic of study, but we also overview recent research in the field of corpus linguistics and ethnography. The conclusion discusses possible future directions and development of English for specific purposes.


English for specific purposes; register analysis; discourse analysis; needs analysis; genre analysis; ethnography; corpus studies; a digital revolution in ESP

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.51558/2490-3647.2022.7.4.283


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