Swales' 6 Characteristics of Discourse Communities

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What is a discourse community?

Discourse Community- A group of people who share a set of discourses (basic values and assumptions) and ways of communicating about those goals.


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What are the 6 Defining Characteristics of a Disco

A discourse community:

  • Has an agreed set of common public goals
  • Has ways of intercomunication between its members
  • Uses the comunitive ways to provide infomation and feedback to each other
  • Possesses one or more genres within the group comunication
  • Due to owning genres, they have a specific lexis 
  • Has a threshold of members with a degree of context and discoursal expertise 
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Producing a Text Within a Discourse Community

  • If someone wants to join a discourse community (for example, mums net, online), they can not just write about anything.
  • The preson has to not only know the lexis and language used but also the concepts and expectations.
  • For example, if someone wanted to join mums net, they cant just write about anything, it would have to be in relation to a paretal issue or question.
  • Thus, the producing of a text cannot take place unless the writer can define their goals in terms of the discourse communitys' context and common public goals.
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An Example of a Discourse Community Map

   This is an example of a discourse community map:

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