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Review of Ideas and Options in English for Specific Purposes
AUTHOR: Basturkmen, Helen TITLE: Ideas and Options in English for Specific Purposes SERIES: ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series PUBLISHER: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates YEAR: 2006 ISBN: 0805844171 ANNOUNCED IN: http://linguistlist.org/issues/17/17-528.html
Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende, Department of English Philology, University of A Coruña, Spain
Dr. Helen Basturkmen is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland in the Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics. Among her fields of interest and research are discourse analysis, language education, and investigating postgraduate EAL students difficulties in structuring and writing theses. This book is one of her most recent publications along with ''Perceptions of the Difficulties of Postgraduate L2 Thesis Students Writing the Discussion Section'' (Bitchener and Basturkmen, 2006), ''Interaction in Group Writing Tasks in Genre-Based Instruction in an EAP Classroom'' (Loewen and Basturkmen, 2005), and ''The Text and Beyond: Exploring the Expectations of the Academic Community for the Discussion of Results Section of Masters Thesis'' (Basturkmen and Bitchener, 2005). The present book is geared toward graduate-level TESOL education courses, but it would be useful for ESP teachers of all educational levels.
The book has three main parts. The first part, entitled ''Preliminaries,'' is intended to introduce the methodology, goals and potential audience of the book. It includes three chapters: (1) Introduction, (2) Approach and (3) Issues in ESP course design.
In Chapter 1, the Introduction, Basturkmen presents different approaches to designing ESP courses and materials, and she also explains her reasons for the publication of this book. One of them is the lack of literature on ESP, and the other has to do with ''the attempts in ESP to reconcile its work with the critical orientation emerging in applied linguistics at present'' (pp. 5-6). She recognizes Stern and Giddens as the two main sources of her approach to ESP, however her discussion is not exclusive to these two; there is continuous reference to different authors and sources throughout the book.
In Chapter 2, the author gives a more comprehensive explanation of her ''Data-driven'' approach. In this section, she discusses the work of Stern and Giddens in more detail, as well as the work of several other ESP researchers.
Chapter 3 points out some of the main criticisms that modern approaches to ESP have received, including several dichotomies in these approaches that are quite difficult to solve. The first addresses the target language itself, and whether we are dealing with a common language (with many variations), or many distinct varieties. Other dichotomies include types of syllabuses (synthetic or analytic), courses designs (narrow or wide), and the difference between specific and specifiable elements in ESP. The author does not promote any one approach, but rather presents the approaches in use today, identifying them with the different researchers who practice them.
Part 2 of the book, ''Ideas and Options'' is the most extensive (pp. 31-109), and it is divided in three sections: ''Language'' (Chapters 4-6), ''Learning'' (Chapters 7 and 8), and ''Teaching'' (Chapters 9 and 10).
Chapter 4, ''Language Systems'', departs from Hopper's definition of the term (p. 35) and examines grammar, vocabulary and text organization. Each of these three core language systems are defined and discussed as a basis for research and practical application.
Chapter 5, ''Language Uses'', focuses on the fundamental social aspect of language, discussing pragmatic issues such as speech acts and social interaction.
Chapter 6, ''Combining Language Descriptions'', provides practical examples of the approaches identified in chapters 4 and 5.
Chapter 7 ''Conditions for Learning'' addresses the concepts of acculturation, input and interaction.
Chapter 8, ''Processes of Learning'', is a practical summary of cognitive and mental processes of learning.
Chapter 9, ''Methodologies'', begins with Stern's concept of macrostrategies (p. 113). From this point of departure, input and output strategies are described, and the author gives many examples.
Chapter 10, ''Objectives in Teaching ESP'', examines social and competence objectives when teaching ESP.
The Third part of the book contains only one chapter, Chapter 11, entitled ''Synthesis''. Basturkmen explains her Framework for the analysis of ESP, summarizing the information presented in the book in a chart (p. 150). She then presents two different case studies to show how the framework serves as a basis for the analysis and comparison of both teaching projects.
In addition to these chapters, the book contains a preface, a substantial reference section, and two useful indexes: one listed by author and the other by subject.
This book is a fundamental work for those scholars devoted to the study and teaching of ESP. The body of literature on the teaching of technical languages is not large, and the literature that exists is generally theoretical and removed from a possible practical application. This is not the case with this book, however. Basturkmen presents complex ideas and explanations about different approaches to ESP, however she manages to transmit it in a very accessible way. This accessibility derives in part from the systematic organization of the book, the many examples she provides, and the sections of each chapter containing an introduction, critical summary, discussion questions, and guide for further reading.
The discussion questions, in particular, invite reflection and should be very useful to the teachers, researchers as well as autonomous learners. For example, at the end of Chapter 9 (''Methodologies'') the author provides a set of questions intended to stimulate thinking on one's methods of teaching. These include: ''What role do the four macrostrategies described in this chapter play in your own teaching? Do you tend to use any of the strategies more than others?'' and ''What use of project work and case method studies do you make in your ESP teaching? In groups, draw up a list of the advantages and drawbacks of these activities and discuss ways you would deal with any difficulties that may emerge.''
On the whole, the book is a valuable and original approach to ESP studies.
Basturkmen, H.L. and Bitchener, J. 2005. The Text and Beyond: Exploring the Expectations of the Academic Community for the Discussion of Results Section of Masters Thesis. New Zealand Studies in Applied Linguistics. 11.1-19.
Bitchener, J. and Basturkmen, H.L. 2006. Perceptions of the Difficulties of Postgraduate L2 Thesis Students Writing the Discussion Section. Journal of English for Academic Purposes. 5.4-18.
Loewen, S. and Basturkmen, H.L. 2005. Interaction in Group Writing Tasks in Genre-Based Instruction in an EAP Classroom. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, 15.171-189.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende teaches ESP at the University of A Coruña, Spain, as well as internet courses in collaboration with The University of Islas Baleares, Spain. She has had several research appointments in Scotland, supervised by specialists such as Professor Cairns Craig and Robert Crawford. Her research interests include Translation Studies, ESP, Literature and Education. Besides authoring several articles in these subject areas, she has new book entitled "ESP, Vocabulary and Translation in Technical English."