Reflecting on Pragmatics in ESP Contexts

Omar Ezzaoua, Youcef Hdouch


The inadequacy of research studies in evaluating English for Special Purposes (ESP) textbooks in terms of pragmatic awareness should not be disregarded. The current study is an attempt to extend politeness and speech act theory to the analysis of ESP in hope of bridging the gap between the form of language and its function. Traditionally, studies on ESP focused basically on the syntactic and the lexical choices made by the learners in order to cope with specialized content and vocabulary. This paper aims to show how pragmatics is inherently incorporated in ESP contexts. The claim draws on an ESP textbook, English for Personal Assistants, to show how pragmatics is an integral constituent of this approach to EFL/ESL learning. The study attempts to promote theory-informed pragmatic awareness for ESP learners and teachers alike. To this end, the paper presents the theoretical framework upon which the argument is based. Then, an investigation is carried out with respect to how speech act theory and politeness theory can be drawn upon in order to establish a correlation between pragmatics and ESP.



ESP; Pragmatics; Politeness; Speech act theory

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