1. Introduction 1
- The Prototype Theory 2
- The concept of the Prototype Theory 2
- Family Resemblance of the Prototype Theory 3
- Prototype Splits of the Prototype Theory 3
- Current situation of ESP teaching in China 4
- The importance of terms in ESP teaching 4
- Features of terms based on the Prototype Theory 5
- A questionnaire on the situation of ESP teaching 5
- Enlightenment of the Prototype Theory to ESP teaching 8
- The teaching of basic words 9
- The application of Family Resemblances 9
- The application of Prototype Splits 10
- The Prototype Theory 2
3. Conclusion 11
Works Cited 13
ESP Teaching from the Perspective of Prototype Theory
Prototype theory, an essential point of view of cognitive linguistics, which is based on Aristotle’s classical categorization theory. And inherited and advanced from it. Prototype theory can date back to the late works of Ludwig Wittgenstein. His famous example is the category GAME. By means of the research of the category GAME, Wittgenstein put forward the theory of Family Resemblance in 1950s. He expounded it in his posthumously published book Philosophical Investigation (1953) where he spent several paragraphs illustrating the structure of “game” based on the similarities between various games. On the basis of this, Labov and Rosch established prototype theory. In 1970s, Rosch, a cognitive psychologist, first formulated prototype theory based on mass tests proving the limitations of the traditional semantic concept, which is a great revolution to the traditional classical categorization theory.
Hutchinson and Waters defined that ESP as a specific occupation or subject in English, which is an English course for specific needs of learners.
ESP flourished rapidly after the WWII. In western countries, there have been some of the works of ESP in the late 1960s. The Linguistic Science and Language Teaching was written by functional linguistics founder Holliday, Mcinfash and Sterens in 1964, which mentioned the concept of ESP. In 1969, Jack Ewer and Latorre published a book named Basic Scientific English Tutorial, a remarkable influential textbook. It was considered to be the start of modern ESP teaching.
The research of ESP at home started ten years later than the western countries. Since the 21st, domestic ESP research boomed rapidly, and many writings appeared in people’s sight. Most of the crucial books are The theory and practice of ESP written by Cheng Shilu and Zhang Guoyang, and The teaching research of ESP written by Guo Jianjing, as well as The theory and application of ESP written by Huang Ping, etc. What’s more, many papers published in core journals, such as The current situation and suggestions of ESP written by Hu Yanxia, The nature, category and
teaching principles of ESP written by Qin Xiubai, and ESP and English teaching in domestic university written by Chen Xia, etc. In the 21st Century, the ESP research develops deeply and broadly. After 50 years’ development, the ESP research in China has achieved certain progress, but still exists some problems.
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