International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 5 Issue 1 (June 1995), Pages 3-150

Studies of language for specific purposes: a biased view of a rich reality (pages 111-134)

The first part of the article discusses professional language and communication in real‐life settings. It stresses that oral and written discourse are intertwined and that the construction of professional discourse is a dynamic process. Three layers are distinguished in this process: cognitive, social and societal. The second part contains a critical overview of research on language for specific purposes. The European perspective is contrasted with the American perspective, and different approaches are discussed in relation to the three layers. The third part develops ideas for a renewal of the field. The unification of studies of the written and spoken sides of communication and a more holistic and multidimensional approach to the study of professional communication are considered as essential for the field in the future.

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