The Importance Of Discourse Communities

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Creations, like most things in life, are improvable. Ideas and theories are always evolving into different ideas or more sophisticated ones. Discourse communities is a term that has been debated over the years. Three of those debaters are James Paul Gee, James P. Porter, and John Swales. In this essay I will analyze what each of these writers see as the definition of a discourse community while comparing specific points that each of them have regarding their personal view on the subject. It is also important to keep in mind that these authors published each of their articles within a 3-year period. That is important because Swales was the first of the three to publish his paper, everyone who wrote about discourse communities after him, already…show more content…
One point Swales brought up was that communication is necessary to fall under the category of a discourse community and that each discourse community must have a unique way of communicating (221). That is a way of saying that each discourse community must have their own language. If a group of people are really part of the discourse community, then they will be able to communicate fluently (Swales 221). Communication and language is a very hot topic in Gee’s article and we see that when he says, “Someone can speak English, but not fluently. However, someone cannot engage in a discourse in a less than fluent matter. You are either in it or you’re not.” (Gee 487). Swales and Gee obviously agree on the idea of communication but surprisingly, Porter does too. Porter writes that, “A “discourse community” is a group of individuals bound by a common interest who communicate through approved channels…” (porter 400) All three of these journalist agree that communication is vital to a discourse…show more content…
It can be difficult to understand what it means to be a discourse or what communities fall under that category, and that is why I feel like John Swales’ definition of a discourse community is the the one that makes the most sense and the one that almost anybody can apply to communities they are part of and determine if they are discourses or not. Even though Gee and Porter had good points regarding discourses and good arguments, one almost had to be a linguist to fully understand what they were saying. They did help Swales get his point across more clearly in some instances though. Thanks to Swales I now know for a fact that my English 1113 class is a discourse community and I achieved that by following the six rules Swales presented as necessary to be a discourse community. Gee, James P. “Literary, Discourse, and Linguistics.” Writing About Writing, A College Reader. Ed. Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 481-495. Print.
Porter, James P. “Intertextuality-and-the-Discourse-Community.” Writing About Writing, A College Reader. Ed. Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 395-406. Print.
Swales, John. “The Concept of Discourse Community.” Writing About Writing, A College Reader. Ed. Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 466-479.
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