Discourse Communities

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Discourse Communities

In today’s world, there are many different discourse communities that consist of how someone speaks at home versus how someone speaks at school. In Amy Tam’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” she explains her discourse communities and how they affect her life. I think it is safe to say that she is not the only one who deals with this. I myself find myself talking differently when I am with my family versus when I am at school and I know there are so many others who feel the same way. I believe that there are differences between these discourse communities. For example, how someone acts or speaks when he or she is with a particular community. Based on this, I think that students should be required to use academic discourse in a college writing environment for multiple reasons which include: writing properly, sounding more intelligent, getting the respect one deserves, being more educated with today’s modern English style, and increasing one’s vocabulary.

Throughout our years of school academic discourse teaches us how to speak and write the proper way, which is important because it helps establish ourselves as good speakers and writers at an early age. After learning basic speaking and writing skills, things begin to get a bit more complicated because one must learn when and how to use their speaking and writing skills at a more complex level and in certain situations. At the college writing level, students begin to establish themselves as the writers that they are going to be. What separates the writings of different students are the different discourse communities they come from. Most students, if not all, speak differently at home than they do when in class and this sometimes shows in their writings. Whether the students speak a different language at home or just use a different style of grammar, when they come to the classroom the difference is usually shown because all students come from using different styles of personal English at home that can sometimes get in the way of them understanding the academic English. Because of this, writing academically helps establish a good writer because it helps the writer sound more intelligent. In Amy Tan’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” she states, “Just last week, I was walking down the street with my mother, and I again found myself conscious of the English I was using, the English I do use with her.” This quote shows how she uses a different kind of English with her mother than she uses when she writes.

Not only should students be required to use academic discourse in a college writing environment because it is the correct way to write, but also because writing with an academic discourse helps students sound more intelligent by teaching them the correct way to write, unlike in a personal English discourse community where people talk less intelligently. If a writer was to write using the English he or she uses at home with all sorts of slang terms, that writer may not sound too intelligent. Sounding intelligent for a writer is key to becoming a successful writer, due to readers not wanting to read something that sounds funny or includes slang. What really attracts an audience is the intelligence of the writer. In an article titled, “11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing,” Dean Rieck includes eleven tips, all of which help writers become “Intelligent writers.” The last five of the tips are “eliminate fluff words, don’t ramble, don’t be redundant or repeat yourself, don’t overwrite, and edit ruthlessly.” I feel that these five separate the discourse communities of at home and at school. For the discourse of how someone uses English at home, he or she usually only follows few if not any. On the other hand, for the discourse that someone uses at school, he or she usually does follow every tip as they all contribute to intelligent writing styles and habits. Rieck’s article shows the reader how to be an intelligent writer, and those tips have the ability to separate a writer...
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