Conceptualisation of ‘Needs’ in ESP Needs Analysis: A Plethora of Terms

  • Arcade Nduwimana Department of Languages and Social Sciences, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Bujumbura, Burundi, East Africa & Doctoral School, University of Burundi, Bujumbura, Burundi, East Africa
Keywords: Categorisation, ESP, Meaning overlap, Needs, Needs analysis


Although there exists extensive literature on needs analysis in English for Specific Purposes (ESP), there is still a disagreement over the exact definition of the term needs. Consequently, there is a plethora of terms used synonymously with the word needs. Terms such as necessities, wants, lacks, desires, deficiencies preferences, requirements, etc. are often encountered in the literature on ESP. Senior scholars or people already familiar with the field of ESP may take these terms for granted. Yet, students and/or novice researchers may find themselves confused about the meaning of these terms. This paper is therefore intended to shed the light on how the term ‘needs’ is conceptualised by different ESP scholars. It shall demonstrate the meaning overlap that exists between the terms used to refer to the concept of needs and discuss the recent categorisation of needs which may prove useful to students and novice scholars in the field of ESP.

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