Different Views of a Discourse Community

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Posted on 13 Mar 2013 03:33

Ann M. Johns starts off with a brief introduction on what is a discourse community. Her definition of a discourse community serves as an add-on to John Swales’ definition of discourse communities. At the beginning of her research she states that the common ideas between discourse communities are the shared language and genres. Ann John’s idea of discourse community also has to satisfy the six characteristics of a discourse community established by Swales. However, she describes essential components that classify individuals into specific communities with respect to their abilities and behavior as individuals. For example, John separates discourse communities into three categories, and they are: social, political and recreational communities, academic communities, and professional communities.

Social, political, and recreational communities are also known as “communities of practice” which refer to those individuals who are submitted (involuntarily) to form part of a specific community by their parents or culture. In the other hand, John describes academic communities in which the individual has chosen to form part of this community voluntarily. Academic communities are based on “interest, politics, or professions.” Ann John uses faculty in a university as an example of an academic community or as she would say a community that has their “own discipline-specific allegiances (biology, chemistry, engineering, etc.)” Professional communities are those communities that involve active members where “informal exchanges” occur, for example, “conferences, e-mail, memos, hallway discussion, labs, and published texts. Ann John uses a group of musician as a professional community because they “share styles, knowledge in notation expertise, values, and expectations to facilitate communication.”

Sean Branick conducted his research of a discourse community using a very different perspective, a rather more focused example, as opposed to the other authors' example of a discourse community. Branick chose the coaching community to describe every aspect of it that classifies it as a discourse community. Branick links discourse community as a behind the scene that the public often is not aware. There many procedures that a coach must follow in order to satisfy his position as a coach and teacher for his players, his team, and the public. Branick bases coaching as a discourse community that is composed by a “goal-focused coaching, coaching with confidence, and characteristics of effective coaches.” Branick’s research is mainly carried out by interviewing coaches from various teams.

Both authors create components to help his/her readers to easily understand the identification of a discourse community. These divisions made both authors (components) help to distribute the information properly, therefore, support the idea conveyed by the author. Both authors take different approaches yet successful to explain a discourse community. For example, Branick gathered most of his information through articles and interviews while John used her experiences as well as her husband’s experiences, literature, and studies. In my opinion, the John research’s purpose is to make people aware why people join certain communities while Branick wants to inform people coaching as a discourse community.

I find Branick’s research of a discourse community to be very useful for my model of a discourse community. His selection of coaching as a discourse community also touches the functions of sport for the fact that is the job of any coach. I think Branick’s research will be useful to my classmates who have chosen any type of sport as a discourse community they want to study. In my opinion, Branick’s work will help anyone to get a better understanding of a discourse community using a very detailed specific example and help you fulfill the entire definition of a discourse community as described by all the authors.

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