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LSP Perspectives

The existence of specialist languages (or Languages for Specific Purposes - LSP) is an objective fact, of which users of a general language may become convinced for example by establishing contacts with representatives of various professional groups such as doctors, lawyers, or IT specialists. This fact is well illustrated by the conversation between a client and an expert in a well-known short story by Julian Tuwim entitled Ślusarz. Franciszek Grucza, citing the research by John Swales (1992), writes that “on the European continent (...) more attention is paid to specialist languages as such, whereas in the UK rather to specific purposes which these languages are used for” (1994: 19).1 This may lead to far-reaching conclusions that a continental approach presupposes the existence of a specialist language as a language variant that must be defined, that its distinctive features must be identified and that the dividing line separating it from general language must be drawn. The English term implies that it is not the language but the purpose of its use that is specific. It can therefore be assumed that by using the language for specific purposes we select and modify resources provided by the general language. The problem is rather theoretical and researchers of specialist languages dealing with them in practical terms focus on the issues such as the distinctive features of specialist discourses, mainly in the field of their registers, styles and genres as well as the challenges they pose to specialist language translators and teachers. It is worth noting that this examination of specialist languages brings together researchers in different language areas, regardless of whether they use the term specialist (specific) purpose or specialist (specific) language.

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