UCF Robotics Club, a Discourse Community
A discourse community can be defined many ways; however
I tend to agree with Swale’s definition of it. Swale’s classification of a discourse community is that it has six main characteristics. Those being a "broadly agreed set of common public goals", "mechanisms of intercommunication among its members", "uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback", "utilizes and hence processes one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims", "has acquired some specific lexis", and "has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise" (466-79). The club known simply as Robotics Club started at the University of Central Florida (UCF) but is now an international club. One would assume that since it is a robotics club their lexis, or terminology, would be too complex for the everyday person to understand. However this is quite the contrary, they tend to shy away from uncommon vocabulary so as to not scare off any potential new comers. The Robotics Club tries to avoid using group specific lexis towards outsiders for fear that they will seem intimidating and unapproachable. Although they avoid using technical terms towards outsider, on the other hand, they do within their discourse community. Some of these terms include autonomous, servos, and omniwheels. In the outside world omniwheels would be thought of as wheels that are all over the place. However within the community it means a wheel that can go both forwards and side to side. Autonomous is defined as being unmanned or self-controlled running off a pre-compiled program. For example, there are robotics competitions where the robot has to perform a certain task without being controlled by a member of the group or team. Someone who is interested in said club could do a simple Google search for “robotics UCF” and find a link to the club’s main website...
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