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Discourse Communities Essays

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 in an academic discourse community from a writer in a non-academic discourse community.
This is one reason for why students should be required to use academic discourse when in a college writing environment because it helps the writer to become an intelligent writer due to how an academic discourse community teaches one how to use what they have learned to sound intelligent. After a writer learns how to write intelligently, he or she will earn the respect he or she deserves. One will gain respect if he or she writes and speaks in an intelligent manner, such as from an academic discourse community.
Respect is important because it is a way for one person to show another how he or she sees a value in that other person. In Amy Tans article she says, “I believed that her English reflected the quality of what she had to say. That is, because she expressed them imperfectly her thoughts were imperfect. And I had plenty of empirical evidence to support me: the fact that people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good service, pretended not to understand her, or even act as if they did not hear her. This quote is a perfect example of how someone within a non-academic discourse community does not gain respect because of how her mother did not get good service or was not understood. Later in her article, Tan also mentioned how she talked on the phone pretending to be her mother saying, “My mother has long realized the limitations of her English as well. When I was fifteen, she used to have me call people on the phone to pretend I was she. In this guise, I was forced to ask for information or even complain and yell at people who had been rude to her.
One time it was a call to her stockbroker in New York. ” Unlike her mother, Amy Tan was able to get respect from other as she is from not only just her discourse community at home, but also an academic discourse community that makes her intelligent. Using this as an example, we see another reason for why students should be required to use academic discourse in a college writing environment because in doing so, they could help others when someone else is not given the respect he or she deserves.
Subsequently to gaining respect from using academic discourse comes fitting in with the academic discourse communities of today. Now some may argue that today’s style of English is that of personal English with slang, but I argue against that. In today’s world, to be successful one has to be intelligent and being intelligent does not include using slang in your every-day life. What I am trying to say is that today’s modern style of English is that of which we learn from academic discourse communities as that is how we educate ourselves.
Being educated in today’s society is how we will succeed, but even that is becoming more of a difficulty. In Adam Davidson’s article, “The Dwindling Power of a College Degree,” the author talked about succeeding nowadays is not like how it has been in past years. Davidson says, “There are about 40 million of these low-skilled people in our work force. They’re vying for jobs that are likely to earn near the minimum wage with few or no benefits, and they have a high chance of being laid off many times in a career. ” The workers in this category are mostly those who do not come from cademic discourse communities and as you can see, it is harder for them to succeed because they are being laid off continuously. On the other hand, for workers who come from academic discourse communities, succeeding is not as difficult but still has its costs. This serves as yet another example to why students should be required to use academic discourse in college writing environments. These days, people often fail to realize and concentrate on their vocabulary; therefore, they lack an extensive vocabulary that can be achieved by using academic discourse.
Within certain discourse communities, vocabulary is not the focus as in a discourse community of individuals at home. Personal English communities usually consist of small groups or families who understand each other’s styles of writing and speaking. However, the groups usually tend to forget about the vocabulary that they use, and therefore, do not increase it. For those who are in academic communities, they are more likely to increase their vocabulary because when in an academic discourse community, people are taught a more complex vocabulary.
Vocabulary is very important not just because it gives people a larger choice of words to use, but also because it makes people sound more intelligent, which can lead to finding better careers. Many people put vocabulary off to the side because they believe it is not important, when in reality, it is very important. Coming from academic discourse communities, people have a broader vocabulary, allowing them to act more intelligently in many situations. Like I said earlier, there are different ways people talk and communicate; those are the ways they are at home and ways they are at school.
We call these discourse communities and more specifically, academic discourse communities and personal English discourse communities. There is a difference between these two communities and it is important that students should be required to use academic discourse when they are in a college writing environment for multiple reasons. Those reasons include: writing properly, which consisted of how different students see different styles of English as what is proper; sounding more intelligent, which consisted of why it is important to sound intelligent while writing; getting the respect one eserves, which consisted of how sounding intelligent helps an individual; to be more educated with today’s modern English style, which consisted of fitting in with today’s English; and to increase one’s vocabulary, which consisted of how vocabulary also contributes to the intelligence of an individual. These reasons help students become involved with their specific discourse communities because they all contribute to helping the writer establish him or herself.

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