The role of English for specific purposes (ESP) in supporting the linguistic dimension in English-medium instruction (EMI)



Partly because of the Bologna Declaration, the so-called English-Medium Instruction (EMI) courses in universities have undergone a strong surge in the last 15 years. This initial phase of growth in EMI has had an impact on LSP (Language for Specific Purposes) courses, which have in some cases suffered a consequent decline. This article seeks to highlight the potential of LSP to prepare students in EMI communication, support academic disciplinary skills, develop transversal skills, and foster intercultural communication. The study analyses an LSP-focused curricular design that aims to help students develop English-language communicative effectiveness for a domain-specific context: social and human services. The various integrative practices inherent in LSP instruction call attention to its potential as a harmonizing and empowering force for content- and language-integrated learning when used alongside EMI.

Keywords: English-Medium Instruction (EMI); Language for Specific Purposes (LSP); English for Specific Purposes (ESP); Content-and-language integrated learning (CLIL); Integrating content and language in higher education (ICLHE).


English-medium instruction (EMI), Language for Specific Purposes (LSP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Content and language integrated learning (CLIL), Integrating content and language in higher education (ICLHE)


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Author Biographies

Francesca Costa, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, is Associate Professor in English Language and Linguistics. Her area of research focuses on applied linguistics, the teaching and learning of the English language at all levels of education (from primary to university) with a particular focus on codeswitching and translanguaging, Bilingual Education, CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), ICLHE (Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education), EMI (English-medium Instruction) and Scientific English. She is the author of several publications on EMI /ICLHE, including the recent monograph, Alternation between L1 (Italian) and L2(English) in Three CLIL and EMI Contexts

Lynn Mastellotto, Free University of Bolzano

Free University of Bolzano, is Researcher in English Language and Linguistics. Her research and publications focus on teaching and learning English as a foreign language, multilingualism in education, language input strategies for inclusive learning, and intercultural education. She is involved in developing curricula in English for specific and academic purposes (ESP/EAP), in content and language integrated learning (CLIL and ICLHE), and in supporting professors in course design and delivery for English-medium instruction (EMI). She is the current coordinator of ICLHE Italy, a regional branch of the international ICLHE association.




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