Reflections on the Concept of Discourse Community

Quote 1: “The term [discourse community] realigns the traditional unities—writer, audience, text—into a new configuration.”

Explain why you feel connected to this quote: I always thought that making the writer and the audience the opposites of each other creates a dynamic in which the former produces and the latter consumes. However, in actuality, I like to think that in a community, every person can make a contribution to the discourse. The same individual can be the writer and the audience, and communication happens in both directions.

Quote 2: “Many people are occasional members of more than one discourse community.”

Explain why you feel connected to this quote: I think that every person is multifaceted and plays multiple roles in their lives. There are family roles and job positions as well as the status of a participant or a leader in associations and communities of all kinds. This quote also captures the temporary nature of some roles. For example, if I were to start a new job, I would have to adapt to the new linguistic code and catch up on the conventional lexicon used at that place. However, the moment I quit the job, I stop contributing to the discourse, exchanging with other members, and working toward common goals.

Discourse communities that I participate in

Community college students

Community college students value knowledge, moving toward academic goals, mutual help, and camaraderie. Because sometimes they attend the same classes, they develop a vocabulary that is useful for discussing assignments and working through topics together.

Gym clients

Gym clients vary in goals, but generally, they want to become fitter and healthier. There is a set of conventions for how different pieces of equipment and exercises are called.

Restaurant staff

When I used to do waitressing at a restaurant, I had to learn the menu and many handles for menu items that we only used between each other. The goal was to serve customers as quickly as possible, receive more tips, but still be a good friend to other colleagues.

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