Neophyte In A Discourse Community

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A discourse community is a group of people with common goals and values who communicate through discourse to achieve their goals. In any new group the individual will first be seen as a neophyte, someone who has less authority than other members higher up in the community. For example, an intern at an oil and Gas Company will have less power than the CEO of that company. Now to become an expert in the community one must use intertext, which is the types of writing a discourse community uses. From this individuals can learn characteristics of the community such as lexis and genres, and feedback from experts to obtain authority and become an expert. In every discourse community there must be a difference of authority between the higher up member…show more content…
You are not just bestowed authority simply by being in the community, you must earn the authority through proper use of feedback and the use of intertext to learn the lexis and the genres of the community. If you look at the intertext which “must reveal certain characteristics” (Porter 401) of the community you can learn through that their lexis, which is just a vocabulary of words and abbreviations only understood by members of that community. This vocabulary is used “for efficient communication exchange between experts”(Swales 222). If you do not successfully learn the community’s lexis you will not be given authority from experts because you do not meet the requirements to be in their Discourse Community. For example, in a community of avid football watchers they will use the abbreviation “TD” which stands for a touchdown, you will have to know this to successfully be a part of their discourse community. If the neophyte can learn the lexis from reading the intertext of other members of the community, the experts will view his paper as more valid than another neophyte who does not use the use the lexis of the group. This will in turn grant the neophyte will more authority over other neophytes who do not properly use the community's lexis. Another way neophytes gain authority is through the use of feedback with experts in…show more content…
The neophytes must adopt the practices of the community to maintain their authority. This does not happen overnight so neophytes “normally experience a grace period for adopting community practice” (Wardle 290). The grace period has to come to an end at some point and if by that time, the neophytes have not adopted the practices of the community they will lose the authority that has been bestowed upon them by the members or institution. In the community the members share a common goal, being that is one of the 6 criteria of a Discourse Community. If an individual was to change his or her goal, that would create conflict with other members of the community. For the people who agree with that individual's new goals will follow them and that group will form a community. The members who do not agree will stay with the old goal and continue on with what they were doing before. So the member who had a change in mindset has lost authority in some way because now less members see that individual with authority tied to his or her name. If you can obtain authority you can likewise lose authority. If you do not adopt the ways of the community then you will simply fade away and members will forget about you since you are making no contributions to the group, and if you

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