Thank you all for your work on this first Post assignment. I have read through your posts and in what follows I highlight some of your responses to show some of the main ideas raised by the class. In this way we can see some of the connections among your responses and mimic a bit of what would happen in an in-person class.

Many of you were interested in the connection between discourse communities and communication. This is an especially important connection for our class since we will be thinking about how to communicate in writing to a particular DC. Therefore, we have to think about how to effectively and persuasively communicate with a particular audience. Here are some of the things the class had to say about DCs and communication: 

  • Marcus gives us great examples from his own life to help us understand the link between discourse communities and language/communication. Within his own family, participation in professional DCs means that two family members do not necessarily understand each other when discussing work. 
  • Similarly, Jeffrey explains that even when with friends with whom he obviously communicates well, he can have trouble understanding them when they use language from their fields of work. 
  • The way DCs affect our communication is something Abigail points out as well and she links it the need for code switching when we shift between groups.
  • Jenny also calls our attention to the way professional communities are DCs and the way they influence communication so that outsiders do not really understand. Rightly, Jenny points out that though we may never have thought about it, we all participate in DCs and are surrounded by DCs we do not participate in and do not understand. A point similarly made by Ryan in his post.

Another point that came up often was the connection between discourse communities and our identities. 

  • Moushmi calls our attention to a great point by Swales and then adds his own insight. Moushimi quotes this from Swales: “As we move from one DC to another, our verbal and social behavior adapts to the new environment, but I do not believe that this necessarily implies that we adopt new identities, or that we are somehow merely an aggregation of different personae” (Swales, 7). Moushmi then explains that though we do not change our identity as we move between DCs that each does influence our overall idenityt: “When reading this quote, I feel that being part of a discourse community can factor into someone’s identity depending on the expectations of a specific discourse community.”
  • And Tanya’s quote and response connects to Moushmi to help us think further about the way we participate in, and our identities are informed by, our DCs. Pointing to Swales’ point that we participate in both focal and local DCs, Tanya points out: “we all have different groups we belong to and our way of being is different. That is what makes us unique in many ways.”
  • As Andrew points out, it is interesting to think about the fact that not only do we participate in multiple DCs which influence our identity but that DCs interact with each other and affect each other and the environment around them. 
  • Likewise picking up on the idea of identity, Michael picks a quote from Swales that shows that though our DCs are part of our identities, it does not mean that all those in a DC are the same. Michael highlights the following quote: “Indeed, many types of discourse communities develop shorthand expressions, such as abbreviations and acronyms, to aid speed of communication. Members of such groups can be of different nationalities, ages, and occupations, and can differ quite considerably in their economic circumstances and educational backgrounds.”

Finally, a few or you were interested in the ways DCs are formed. 

  • Thinking about the fact that we participate in multiple DCs simultaneously and that participation is not necessarily permanent, Selena writes, “I realized how many discourse communities you are actually incorporated in when you find a new hobby or interest. There are so many different communities and even for a short period you are part of that community. This is something I will think about whenever I find a new interest or develop a new habit or hobby.”
  • Also calling our attention to the factors that might influence a DC, how it functions, and who can participate, Tyviana calls our attention to the following quote: However, it is unclear whether, in this era of cell-phones, family dispersion, a fluid and uncertain job market for the young, the rise of international trade, and the decline of local crafts and industries, traditional speech communities continue to exist in meaningful numbers.” Tyviana writes: “I found this quote to be interesting because, in the beginning, it shows how things affected discourse communities and what was affected by these things.”

We will return to the ideas in Swales throughout Unit 1 and the semester. Among other things, tomorrow (Thursday 2/12) I will begin class reviewing the Unit 1 Assignment Guidelines and the idea of a discourse community which you will need for Unit 1. We will also work on developing your ideas for Unit 1.

See you all soon!