A Corpus Tools-assisted Evaluation of Three ESP Textbooks in China

  •  Chuying Ou    


ESP textbook plays an important role in facilitating students to develop their profession-related language skills. However, ESP textbooks published in China are less developed and often criticized as ignoring the training of language skills. This research aims to reveal the specific problems of China’s ESP textbooks by conducting a multiple-case study. Three ESP textbooks used by ESP courses participants from G University in China were selected: “Computer Professional English Course” “Advertising English” and “Logistics English”. The research investigated their performance focusing on six aspects: coverage of language skills, text features, coverage of discourse functions, recycling, organization and difficulty. The content was analyzed by three different corpus tools. It is found that the three textbooks place too much emphasis on reading and vocabulary, lacking the training of listening skill, speaking skill, as well as the delivery of certain learning strategies. All three textbooks involve a wide range of discourse functions. The texts are informative academic texts, but organized by subject matter only, rather than a synthesis of subject matter, language points and language skills. There is scarce recycling of language points in two of the books and texts through all of them do not indicate a rising difficulty. It is concluded that the drawbacks of the three ESP textbooks far outweigh their merits. By uncovering problems of three ESP textbooks in China the research provides useful reference for future ESP textbook compilation.

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