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Jiyeon Song Professor Fuentes English 1101 24 November 2013(Revised)

Language Learning or Linguistics Discourse Community Although people in the world know at least one language and speak it, they have no idea how complex it is. Just like babies get to know how to stand up and walk, the mother tongue of each person is acquired naturally. There are even some people who are striving to learn other languages other than their native languages. Thus, it can be understood that language can be consideredto be basic needs of people. There is a group of people who are concerned about these phenomena Language Learning or Linguistic discourse community. Actually, there are distinct differences between the two huge discourse groups -Language Learning and Linguistic discourse communities. Apparently, they have their own complex lexis and languages. In this writing, however, it would be better to think both as the same or at least a similar community to make it easier to understand. Otherwise, it would be too complicated to get it right because of the complex and specified traits of these fields. Besides, the goal of each group is same in the end understanding the languages that people use. The biggest difference is relied on how they approach towards their goals. In other words, the means to the ends are different. Lets begin with terms or lexis these discourse communities use when people get to know languages. Is there huge a difference between two sentences - "She learned the language" and "She acquired the language"? The answer is yes. There is huge difference between the two sentences. One might think this difference is trivial and not significant, but this is not true in the
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language learning or linguistic discourse community. When one learns, she does it consciously, putting in effort and concentration. However, when one acquires, she just gets to know it naturally without effort or consciousness like speaking the native language. One never learns her mother tongue, she acquires it like getting a dollar on the street by luck or accidently. By contrast, when one studies another language or foreign language, it's said that "She learned" it. Therefore, never say "acquire" the foreign language.Instead, say "learn" the foreign language (Parker165-168). If one is not a member of this discourse community, there would be no problem with switching these terms. Actually, althoughone usestheminterchangeably, there is no problem understanding them. However, people in the language learning or linguistic community would consider this "mushfaking" because if one doesn't use the correct lexis, itstands out to them and they count it as a mistake. Now, on to conversation. This paragraph examines how the discourse community looksat conversation. One of the representative examples would be the conversational maxims by H. Paul Grice. According to Grice, there are four maxims to follow when one has conversations with others. That is the maxim of quantity, the maxim of quality, the maxim of relation or relevance and the maxim of manner.Firstly, the maxim of quantity requires that one should share the content with the all participants. In other words, all the participants of conversation should know what they are talking about. Secondly, maxim of quality means one should give true information which means one should not lie. Thirdly, the maxim of relation or relevance. One should keep talking which is relevant or related to the topic of conversation. Lastly, the maxim of manner means one should speak simply and in neat sentences. If one keeps speaking in sentences using a lot of flowery words or abstract sentences, there would be misunderstandings between participants. According to linguistic discourse community, if one
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follows these rules, one will have no difficulty when talking with others. There will be difficulty when one of participants violates these rules (Parker22-23). To sum up, theses four maxims are the tools by which this area of discourse community looks at or judges conversations using their own lexis or terms. The last example is connected with phonetics.From this example, one can understand that how this area is classified into many subfields and variety. Phonetics is concerned with the sounds that describe speech(Parker). Basically, there are many different reasons for wanting to describe speech. Some are concerned with the sounds that occur in the languages of the world. Others are more concerned with helping people speak a particular form of language like English. Yet others are looking for ways to make computers to tell sounds moreintelligibly or recognize whatever is said to them. For these purposes, phoneticians need to find out what people are doing when they are talking and how the sounds of speech can be described (Parker). Imagine that the examples given above are not all the language learning and linguistic discourse is studying and considering this phonetics is just one section or partjust like phonology, syntax and semantics, among other things. It's easy to see that how this Language Learning or Linguistic discourse is a big, enormously complicated field. One of the representative lexis or terms used in phonetics would be phoneme, allophones and phone. Phoneme is the most representative sound people hear and they write this as "/t/" with two slashes. Allophone is the relationship of variously expressed sounds of one representative phoneme and phone is the individual member of one phoneme groups which is written as [t] using brackets (Parker94-95). Using these terms, they try to figure out the speech sounds and since these notations are so fundamental, without understanding them, one cannot understand further or move onto upper levels of discourse communication.
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Although the previous examples given are just basic terms used by this language learning and linguistic discourse community, it's easy to imagine how this discourse community is not kind to mushfakers or non - participants. One of the participants of this discourse community, Jiae Kim who is majoring in English education clearly shows how hard she worked to join this discourse community. Jiae Kim has been participating in this discourse community for three years since 2010. The reason why she decided to participatein this discourse community was simple. She wanted to be an English teacher. To be an English teacher, it's necessary to know the principles of this field. Therefore, she already knows the examples of discourse in this writing, and learned these through taking her major subjects. She says she communicates with this discourse community by reading texts and participating in classes (Kim). Compared to the time she knew nothing about linguistic or language learning knowledge, her perception towards this field changed enormously. When Jiae Kim first entered the school and took major subjects, she found it difficult to understand the contents because of the terms, the notions of the texts and the professors explanations were so new. She had barely heard of them before. Additionally, the more she studied, the more she found that she should studybecause of the difficulty and complexity of these fields. However, she was an optimistic student. She didn't consider these processesmerely difficult but took them as worthwhile steps to understand these discourse communities and to be one of these members. Furthermore, as she has been studying the language learning theories and linguistics, her perception towards language, in her case, especially English,has been changed enormously. She says language is not a just tool for communication between its people but a mechanism to connect people from all over the world, so that's why she decided to study abroad as well.
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Therefore, we could say that she joined this language learning or linguistic community successfully, eventually, after she had gone through all the difficult processes she needed to face. Also, joining a discourse community not only provides that area of knowledge, but alsochanges the way one thinks or perceives the world. All in all, it can be said that the language learning or linguistic discourse community also falls into the category of community of practice. According to the definition of sociologist Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, community of practice are groups of people who participate in a shared activity or activities, which makes it hard to accept that this discourse group is merely a discourse community. As evidenced in the examples mentioned above, language learning and linguistic discourse community has its own specialized and specific lexis and terms. Thats why the definitions or explanations should be followed after introducing these terms. Without followup explanations, it would be hard to understand thiswriting for people who are out of this discourse community or non - members. Although Jiae Kim successfully joined this discourse community in the end, even an optimistic learner like her went through a hard time. Thus, without specific goals, this discourse community is not aneasy group to join, and it requires much effort,without doubt.

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Works Cited Frank, Parker. Linguistics for Non-Linguists,Boston: Pearson Education, 2009. Print. H. Douglass, Brown. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching,New York: Longman, 2008. Print. Jiae Kim. Personal interview. 26. 10. 2013 The Purdue OWL. Purdue Univ. Writing Lab, 2010.Web. 11-02-2013

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