The struggle for a place in the sun: rationalizing TESP in the twentieth century.


  • M. H. Chau University of Nottingham


Borrowing the title from Lantolf and Sunderman’s (2001) ‘The Struggle for a Place in the Sun: Rationalizing Foreign Language Study in the Twentieth Century’, this article attempts to offer justification for as well as defence of a situated approach to teaching English for specific purposes (TESP). Five arguments are put forward to justify the position adopted, drawing on the linguistic, affective, cognitive and sociocultural perspectives of language use and development. The article also discusses some challenges in TESP and suggests a number of possible solutions to these challenges. It concludes by arguing that in its struggle for an uncontested place in the sun, a domain specific approach to TESP requires the ESP practitioner’s commitment to make principled decisions in the light of the clear advantages of such an approach, as this article has attempted to show and as the research findings and scholarly discussion of the past century demonstrate.