Areas of research

Scientific position of French research in "anglais de spécialité"

From the very beginning, French research in anglais de spécialité (ASP) has been influenced by the advances of British and American practitioners whose work is generally gathered together under the name of “English for Specific Purposes” (ESP).

Nonetheless, French researchers have been promoting more and more specific approaches for the last thirty years. In general, they try to add to the pedagogical applications of ESP research through a clearly identified articulation between language, specialised domains, and specialised (discourse) communities.

The singular pathways followed by French research include:

  • An understanding of specialised languages as complex entities combining language, discourse, and culture;
  • The identification and study of a genre specific to specialised languages - specialised fiction or “fiction à substrat professionnel” (FASP) - a varied and pedagogically relevant domain that not yet been explored in depth by ESP researchers in other countries;
  • An effort to establish a scientific framework for the field by defining key terms, identifying domain-specific epistemological principles and exploring the diachronic aspects of specialised languages;
  • Research into pedagogical strategies adapted to specialised language practice and study.

These efforts were illustrated by the adoption of two preliminary definitions of specialised languages and “anglais de spécialité” (ASP) by the Education and Training Committee of the SAES (Société des anglicistes de l’enseignement supérieur) in January 2011.

Specialised languages - a specialised language is the means of expression of a specialised domain in a language. 

Anglais de spécialité – a specialised variety of English (often called “specialised language” for convenience) is the means of expression of a specialised domain in that language. As a disciplinary field, anglais de specialité is the sub-field of English studies that is interested in these objects of research and which puts forward pedagogical reflections specific to the teaching and learning of them.

Research in ASP: A policy of social engagement

Since 2010, one of the missions of GERAS has been to “specialise the professional English sector”, or in other words to promote best teaching practices in specialised language transmission that are adapted to the student’s non-linguistic disciplinary interests rather than based on general language lessons: for example, legal English in a university of law, medical English at medical school, etc. In the long term, the goal of our research is to lay the scientific groundwork necessary for the development of training programmes (specifically) for specialised language practitioners that France urgently requires.


International outreach and research

The current development of GERAS’ international activities is closely linked to its scientific development. Our goal is to be able to better circulate the group’s findings to other countries, but also to confront them to external contributions and enrich them through an international dialogue.

By creating a network of international correspondents (GICs), GERAS supports the creation of similar partner groups in other countries in order to build an international chain of learned societies devoted to ESP research.

Position of the GERAS within national and international institutions 

GERAS has clarified its policy and research activities in the national French context by submitting a response to the 2015 questionnaire of the SAES addressed to learned societies in English studies in preparation for the white paper on research in English studies. This document was published in 2016 and can be viewed on the SAES website.

GERAS has also explained its research approach in the international context, particularly the European context, in a sub-plenary lecture given at the 13th ESSE (European Society for the Study of English) conference after having been asked to do so by the SAES, the affiliate of this European network (23rd August 2016, University of Galway, Ireland). The lecture can be viewed here.


This section of the website lists all of the books published by GERAS members.