Academic Discourse

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The definition of a discourse community is as yet undefined; it does however require a set of specific characteristics, which allow the term to be narrowed until the point when many competing notions are eliminated. It is more a set of ideas, relating to the world of research and academic writing. There are many uncertainties surrounding the qualities and characteristics of a discourse community, many of which rise from a lack of definition. The following research is aimed at reducing confusion by identifying complex ideas and breaking them down. The information provided has been obtained through various sources of conflicting views, further illustrating the complexity of the topic. Many school settings are considered discourse communities, fitting each of the six characteristics.

The six defining characteristics of a discourse community require a set of common goals, there must also be mechanisms of communication within the community as well as feedback among members. Genre is the fourth characteristic, describing the various methods of output. Similarly, lexis is required, a set language with exclusive terms and expressions. Finally, a discourse community must have a threshold level of membership; there must be a steady flow of changing memberships including the transfer of knowledge between novices and experts. It is this transfer of knowledge that allows the community to grow, novice members become experts creating room for more novice members. From the outside it appears that an English major studying at the university level may belong to an academic discourse community, having met the criteria. However upon further inspection, one notices that each characteristic can be molded to fit any community. The vagueness of the c...

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...e made. Transferable skills are acquired through life at varying stages; however, participating in an academic community allows for further development of those skills, and at a rate that can only be achieved within such a stimulating environment.

The academic discourse community I chose will prove to be very beneficial to my future, whatever it is I end up doing as a profession. It will have provided me with skills I can take with me to all parts of my life. I will be able to find gainful employment in order to begin my life in my desired discipline, and eventually pass those transferable skills onto someone else looking to enter the English community. Although this discipline did not exactly fit each of the six characteristics defining a discourse community, I feel that in some way, each characteristic can be altered so as to accommodate the English community.
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