How Discourse Communities Relate to My Life
In reading Swales’ The Concept of Discourse Communities, I have learned about the differences between a language community and a discourse community and just how easily I can relate what a discourse community is to my life. Swales talk about six specific factors that define a discourse community and that lead the way for the terms and conditions of such a group. It terms of my life at the University here at Charlotte, there are two of these communities I feel I fit into.
The first community I feel I fit into would be the pre-medical department. Whether or not everyone who is a part of this community is actually a “pre-med” major is irrelevant. There are many majors who fall into this community, such as: pre-kinesiology, pre-medical, pre-nursing, exercise science, physical training. All of these majors can relate on many different levels making them their own discourse community. Some of the six characteristics that Swales addresses that I can relate to this specific community are that we all have similar course studies. Most students in this community are required to take most, if not all of the same “major” courses. Another thing is the clubs that most of us participate in that prepare us for our particular major. In addition to these things, most of us are sent mass e-mails about up coming events for opportunities to get more involved in various medical programs. In a sense, we all kind of have our own lexis, or specific level of communication when we talk about the things we learn in our intensive chemistry, biology, math, or major related classes, that other people such as art, or music majors don’t understand. Another way that this particular community could be categorized as a discourse community is buy its common public goals. In being part of this community we all have the common goals of wanting to help others, get involved in the medical field, become health and wellness educated, and work in an intense but thrilling field. The writing style of this community is very analytical, educational, precise, and well articulated. A lot of the time because of the lack of writing in comparison to calculations in this field, most of the writing is fact based or procedure based.
The other community I feel that I fall into would be the music discourse community. This fits into the six characteristics of Swales discourse communities because of its common goals of wanting to explore music and expose more people to it through performance, compose new ideas for ways to expand the musical influence in our society and university, along with pushing ourselves to become better musicians and vocalists. This community definitely has its own lexis, and or way of communicating. It terms of music, there are various terms and acts that people who have not been exposed to music or music theory, would not be able to comprehend. Many times, I have found myself talking to someone about my chorus experience and describing to them what qualities one must poses to be considered good musicians or vocalists, and the person will be staring at my blankly because of their inability to understand my particular terminology. Within the community itself, we are free to use our lexis to quickly and effectively communicate our demands or critiques using terms specific to our performance or skills. Also within this community there are specific experts of professionals of the community. A choir director or conductor would be considered a novice member of the community. When talking about the writing style of this community it is music based or evaluation based which definitely requires skills such as recognizing context and proper review techniques. Many times there are people in this field who are required to leave extensive reviews for people looking to advance in this community and good literacy and writing skills are a must if that is something you are required to do.
When evaluating these two particular communities, it is clear to me and most likely to anyone else, that the writing styles and requirements of these communities are extremely different. They each have their own specific lexis, various differing common goals, and many different inner genres that divide and categorize the groups within the communities. Overall, I believe that both of these communities fit very well into the specifications of Swales’ discourse communities. I enjoy both of these communities equally and am proud to be involved in such different types of groups which both have a heavy positive influence on our society as a whole.