Maritime English as a code-tailored ESP


Maritime English
genre-based curriculum development
twostage syllabus mapping
linguistic-communicative balance
inglés marítimo
desarrollo curricular basado en un enfoque de géneros
aprendizaje en dos etapas
equilibrio lingüístico comunicativo

How to Cite

Zhang, Y., & Cole, C. (2018). Maritime English as a code-tailored ESP: Genre-based curriculum development as a way out . Ibérica, (35), 145–170. Retrieved from


Maritime English (ME), as a type of English for Specific Purposes (ESP), is somewhat different in that its instruction and research are founded on specific international legal procedures. Thus, it is vital to determine an ESP framework that bridges the code-tailored ME curriculum development with the communicative language teaching approach. This paper reports on the revision of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Model Course 3.17, Maritime English, where an integrated genre-based ESP framework helps to achieve the balance between language learning’s “wide-angled” quality and ME’s legal consistency. It is argued that code-tailored ME competences find expressions in maritime domain-specific genres; those are the typical sets of English communicative events that seafarers are involved in while achieving their maritime professional objectives. The curriculum can be designed as to integrate linguistic systems, professional motivation and behaviors, communicative skills and cultural awareness into the teaching process, which entails a process of learning Maritime English while taking maritime domain-specific action. Specifically, the principle of genre as social action apprises the two-stage syllabus mapping, that is, General Maritime English (GME) and Specialized Maritime English (SME). In GME, the focus is placed on the linguistic content and how language tasks embedded in the maritime contexts are fulfilled; in SME, the focus is placed on the professional content and how the maritime workplace duties and identities are fulfilled through the English language. As such, syllabus mapping calculates the discursion-profession correlation and helps to ensure that code-tailored ME teaching is communicative performance-oriented. Thus, the multi-syllabus task design and content selection must consistently maintain the genre-based balance on the linguistic-communicative continuum. As a result, the English linguistic systems underlying the maritime domain-specific performances are naturally presented to GME learners; duty-specific knowledge, understanding and proficiency (KUP) requirements for English competence are accordingly unpacked into genre sets to let SME learners develop professional communicative expertise. Moreover, specific intercultural registers defined by English as the lingua franca at sea and ashore demand indispensable cultural input to discursive practices in ME education

Copyright (c) 2018 Yan Zhang, Clive Cole

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Download data is not yet available.