Promoting the fifth skill in teaching ESP

Violeta Janulevičienė, Galina Kavaliauskienė

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The fifth skill is understood as an ability to function fluently in two languages alternately. This implies an ability to switch from one language to another at the moments notice, without any preparation or thinking time. For a monolingual speaker, this means an application of translation from (into) the first or native (L1) language into (from) the second or foreign language (L2). The issue of translation has been rather controversial and seems to be a step backwards from the communicative approach to learning/teaching English through English. Non-native learners realize that they need as much exposure to the L2 as possible during precious classroom time. For a long time any usage of the L1 in class or translation has been considered as a waste of time, and native and non-native teachers of English have been in favor of this attitude and supported it overwhelmingly. It should be emphasized that translation here is used in the meaning of the language learning tool, but not in its another meaning, i.e. as a vocational skill that professional interpreters need to acquire . We have noticed a shift in non-native learners and teachers attitudes towards the use of the L1 lately, which encouraged us to undertake this study. Setting out to examine the effectiveness of learning & teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP), we have focussed on the following points: (1) Do learners need any translation at the intermediate or advanced level? (2) What are the students and teachers attitudes towards the use of the L1 in the ESP class? In this article we report our findings on the teachers attitudes towards the use ofthe native language in teaching ESP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes World
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • ESP teaching/learning

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