What is English for Specific Purposes (ESP)?

With the advent of content-based language instruction and skills-based syllabus, more and more teachers have realized the effectiveness and practicality of teaching what the students NEED and not what the syllabus or the curriculum dictates. Hence, the birth of English for Specific Purposes. Hutchinson and Waters (1987) use ESP as an approach rather than a product, by which they mean that ESP does not involve a particular kind of language, teaching material, or methodology. They suggest that “the foundation of ESP is the simple question: “Why does this learner need to learn a foreign language?” The answer to this question relates to the learners, the language required, and the learning context, and thus establishes the primacy of NEED in ESP.