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The Differences Between ESP and ESL Courses in English

ESP and ESL courses in the English language

In most cases, learning a second language results from a strong aspiration to be understood and understood in another cultural context. 

When considering one's motivation to learn another language, whether it is for general use or specific purposes, we all have the same goal in mind which is to communicate with others.

If you have the option of pursuing a General English (ESL) or English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course, what factors should you consider? 


Difference between an ESP and ESL course


There are a number of differences that distinguish ESP courses from ESL courses. In most cases, the ESP is taught to adults who already have some basic knowledge of English, and candidates are usually intermediate or advanced at the start of their training. 


1. The purpose of language learning

The most important difference between ESP and ESL is the purpose of language learning. Candidates have different goals at different stages of their learning. 

ESL focuses on developing and fine-tuning grammar and language structure, while the ESL program focuses on expanding vocabulary through content analysis and specialized topics. 

2. English for multinational companies

Business English, as a form of ESP, has an increasingly important role in shaping effective communication skills for multinational companies.

International (business) transactions mainly rely on the English language as a common communication framework to bridge the gap between cultural and linguistic boundaries. 

Perhaps you once found yourself in a difficult negotiation with a foreign client and had trouble finding the right words, or perhaps you were asked to take the initiative during a conference call or presented to an international audience and turned down the opportunity due to your lack of fluency.

Business English differs from other forms of ESP in that it is often a combination of specific content (for a specific sector or industry), and general content (the ability to communicate more effectively, especially in business situations).

3. Unique business English courses

Business English courses are unique. It is specifically designed for professionals who need to improve their communication skills in their field.

The courses use many management training techniques in combination with English language training, and the methods applied in business English training are often task-based. Candidates receive a specific assignment with a specific goal in mind where they have the opportunity to apply their new English skills in a practical way.

This is very motivating for candidates. Each lesson includes relevant and original material (case studies, emails, reports) drawn from real business situations (team building, problem solving, training).

Many Business English trainers have qualifications in specific business sectors, enabling them to deal with specific needs and "speak the same language" as their clients. 


4. Language as a tool for business

Unlike English as a second language, Business English is less about "learning to speak a new language" as it is about learning to use the language we already know, and using practical communication tools and applying them in a professional context. 

From an employer's point of view, a company's credibility increases when each employee can communicate effectively using a vocabulary of business English fluently and can accurately apply it to a particular professional situation. 

From an employee's point of view, improving your communication skills for specific purposes will undoubtedly enrich your personal development, as well as your professional development. It's never too late to start. 



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