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Discourse Communities
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Discourse community

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An explanation of Discourse Community

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Discourse community

  1. 1. Discourse Community Zachary Gill Emily Saldanha Sarah Zuber
  2. 2. Let’s Get Started! ● What do we call a group of people working towards a common goal in writing? ● How can we define this group of people in order to assist us in our own writing? ● How does understanding this group impact our understanding of a writing situation?
  3. 3. What is Discourse Community? ● Group of people who are trying to achieve specific common goals ● Accomplish these goals through the use of intercommunication among members of the community ● Communicate through a number of different ways and develop some specific words and sayings unique to that group ● Meets all of Swales’ 6 Characteristics
  4. 4. The Six Characteristics ● There are six characteristics of a Discourse Community defined by John Swales in “The Concept of Discourse Community.” ● If a community does not have all of these characteristics then it is not a Discourse Community. 1. “A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals.” 2. “A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.” 3. "A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.” 4. "A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.” 5. “In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired a specific lexis.” 6. “A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise"
  5. 5. Example 1: A Religion - Christianity A religion is an example of a Discourse Community because it fulfills Swales’ six characteristics. 1. Common Goals: spreading the faith, coming together with certain values, achieving enlightenment, spreading good morals 2. Intercommunication: Face-to-face at meetings, Bulletins, Online discussions 3. The goal of the mechanisms it uses is to provide information to the churchgoers and give feedback to higher members. 4. Genres: The Bible, Holy Books, Psalms, Prayers, Sermons, Songs, etc. 5. Specific Lexis: Pope, Amen, Host, Tabernacle, Pews, God, Saints, etc. 6. Members of Expertise: Pope is the leader, Bishops, Priests and Deacons teach the lower level churchgoers.
  6. 6. Example 2: A Sorority - Alpha Delta Pi A sorority is an example of a discourse community that uses organizational writing. 1. Common Goals: participate in philanthropy events, raise money for own philanthropy, grow close as a sisterhood 2. Intercommunication: GinSystem, chapter facebook groups, weekly chapter meetings, meetings meal plan locations 3. The goal of the mechanisms it uses is to provide information to the members of the chapter 4. Genres: instagram account, twitter account, public facebook group, banners outside of house and blog 5. Specific Lexis: alpha class instead of pledge class, WLFEO as open motto, Big and Little Diamond sisters instead of Big/Little 6. Members of Expertise: President and executive board, deltas are initiated members, alphas are new members and pi are alumni
  7. 7. Example 3: An Honor Society – The Burnett Honors College An honor society is an example of a discourse community because it meets Swales’ six characteristics. 1. Common goals: to remain a member in good standing and participating in the society’s volunteer and tutoring events 2. Intercommunication: weekly/monthly meetings, Facebook group, emails 3. The goal of the mechanisms it uses is to provide information to the members of the honor society. 4. Genres: member handbook, newsletters, public Facebook group, etc. 5. Specific Lexis: merit points, service hours, Honors GPA, etc. 6. Members of Expertise: President, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President
  8. 8. Rhetorical Situation Definition: The writing situation that the writer responds to. Three Elements: Audience: who you are writing to Exigence: the problem that you are writing to solve Constraints: limitations you have to factor into your writing Relation to Discourse Community: The members of the discourse community constitute the audience of the rhetorical situation. The exigence of the writing works towards the common goals of the discourse community you are writing for. Constraints include using the genre, lexis, and methods of the community.
  9. 9. Genre Definition: Writing guidelines that help you respond to a particular situation. Relation to Discourse Community: A Discourse Community uses certain genres in their intercommunication.
  10. 10. Intertextuality Definition: The principle that states that all writing comes from previous writings. Two Types: ● Iterability: incorporating ideas and texts from other writings to add to your writing to enhance its meaning ● Presupposition: assumption that the reader will understand implied writing without explaining completely Relation to Discourse Community: Intertextuality helps members of a Discourse Community build on the previous knowledge and writings of the group.
  11. 11. Importance of Discourse Community ● Discourse Communities help you: ○ Write in situations where communities have specific language and goals of writing ○ Determine what is the best method to approach rhetorical situations ○ Guide your writing ● Knowing the discourse community you are addressing when you are writing is helpful in organizing and effectively getting your point across to your audience. ● Discourse community helps list and analyze constraints of rhetorical situation.
  12. 12. Using Discourse Community ● Understand the common goals of your community and plan your writing to match those goals ● Choose a genre that is common within your discourse community ● Understand your audience ○ Presuppositions ○ Community specific terms and sayings ● Get revision by experts if possible
  13. 13. Additional Reading • (Google Doc) •
  14. 14. Bibliography "AC Peer Tutor." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <>. Alpha Delta Pi Logo. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <>. An A+. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < display.v/ART/4eeff992a0b84>. "Aristotle Situation." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <>. "Christianity." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < /100606/ christianity-4x3-160n67o.jpg>. "Cycle of Genre." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < papers/images/cycleOfGenre.gif>. "Discourse." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < uploads/2014/08/Discourse.jpg>. "Discourse." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < discourse.png>. "Elements of Intertextuality." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < wp-content/uploads/2011/02/>. Facebook Logo. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < 02/27/facebook-whatsapp-instagram-threaten-to-pull-out-of-uganda/>. "Image of Prof Swales." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < 2012-04-26-University-of-Leicester-launches-lecture-series-in-memory-of-Leicester-born- medical-pioneer>. Man with Question Mark. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <>. "Networking Projects." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <>. People Standing on a Map. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < getting-ready-for-the-auselt-article-discussion-group-teaching-pragmatics/>. "Pope Benedict XVI." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < wp-content/uploads/2013/02/pope-benedict-xvi-e1361920899981.jpg>. "Research." N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <>. Swales, John. "The Concept of Discourse Community." Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990.21-32. Print Twitter Logo. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < lSLM0xhCA1RZOwaQcjhlwmsvaIQYaP3c5qbDKCgLALhydrgExnaSKZdGa8S3YtRuVA= w300>. "Websquare Discourse." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < work_with_others/images/websquare641discourse.JPG>. "Western Christianity Problem." N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. < Problem.jpg>.
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An explanation of Discourse Community


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