The goal of many ESL students is to develop their oral and writing skills in the English language. This ability is critical in enabling ESL students to analyze the written and spoken discourse of the community. In the end, they will be able to customize their learning, select appropriate discourse materials suitable for their own reading and writing, and finally, be able to choose their area of interest. The introduction of discourse analysis is a good strategy for helping teachers and students in the ESL community to take charge of their language development.
Qualification of the ESL community as a Discourse Community
Language building is an important, if not essential, aspect of English as a second language students (ESL Students). Individuals in this community cease to be alone by becoming interconnected with each other. As a community with shared goals and a sense of belonging, they begin to acknowledge their independence (Killingsworth, 1999). ESL students agree that they belong to a particular literacy group, they invest in their learning, and are concerned in the ownership of their curriculum. While English is not the main bridge for communication among individuals in this group, language for ESL learners is an essential tool for surviving and forging relationships for other individuals and communities surrounding them. The ESL community aim at “satisfying particular isolated skills in writing, reading, and speaking” (Killingsworth, 1999). In turn, they develop a new identity and develop a thorough understanding of the surrounding world that incorporates the new language. Tsai, and Shang, (2010) also argued that “systematic use of content-based instructional strategies contributes to student’s reading comprehension p. 79)
As evidenced from the discussion above, “the ESL community share dialogues and follow simple communication channels” (Spack 30). Members of the ESL community aim at developing their oral and writing skills in the English language. This ability is critical in enabling ESL students to analyze the written discourse of the English community. This qualifies into the definition of a discourse community put forward by John Swales, who argued that discourse communities comprises of a group of individuals who hold similar goals of fulfilling particular objectives. For a community to be considered as a discourse community, Swales argued that communication must be the main framework for realizing the goals of the community.
Other characteristics that qualifies the ESL community as a discourse community include the common agreement of realizing their challenges in learning English, “accepting to use a particular mechanism or international standard of English to foster intercommunication and its members, and owning a particular category of their own genres such as poetry, literary essays, and novels. In these genres, ESL students use a variety of conventions in styles, form, and characterization among other features that can be used to distinguish the genre. The English language is a dominant language in international issues and scholarly publications the desire to pursue English-related courses by non-native speakers signifies this level of importance. The need to study a foreign language in the best way understandable to them is one of the key goals of the ESL community. Forming their own language patterns to facilitate the process of understanding and improving the process of disseminating information. Interpreting the English language in a manner that suits their writing and communication needs is certain to reduce the challenges faced during the study of the English language.
English in the ESL community varies depending on the level of vocabulary and pronunciation. Differentiating different patterns of ESL dialects has become so predominant in the international market such that it threatens to become an independent version of English other than the popularly known American, Canadian, British or Australian English. This can be attributed to the fact that the ESL community translates the English language into their own preferred concepts and follow specific formats in their communication.
Texts Used By the ESL Community
ESL students usually examine different features and forms of the English language by analyzing their structures and drawing reflections regarding the appropriateness of such texts as used in their contexts. These texts can be grouped into model text types such as informative reports, comparison and contrast reports, persuasive texts, argumentative (expository texts), and analytical texts. The texts in the ESL community are used for a practical practice and precise purpose. Majority of texts used by members of the ESL community are used in informing readers, persuading them, and often describing particular situations such as completion of genre analysis and writing summaries of the genre under analysis. Examples of ESL community texts include editorials, reports, articles, speeches and interviews, letters, analysis, and definitions of words as used in the dictionary. Texts are also used in distinguishing the building blocks of complex pieces of macro-genres. Non-verbal text has also been use to improve listening ability. Wagner (p.493) states that video has long been used in second language (L2) classroomin the belief that including the non-verbal components of a spoken text will be useful for listeners comprehending the aural part” (Wagner 493). ESL communication texts have continued to enrich many students from different backgrounds. The use of a particular language discourse within the ESL community can be evidenced from a specific kind of intersection between linguistics and other social sciences. Analyzing the manner of relation of language and the community enables members of the ESL community to figure out how language is applied in communication and what it actually means.
ESL is used to describe members of this community because of their cohesive unit. Members from the native language category use particular language aspects to identify individuals from the ESL community. ESL speakers have even gone to the extent of coining words that are only understood by members of the insider ESL community. The act of forming idiomatic phrases mainly means that members of the ESL communities have formed a framework or strategy to enable them communicate with each other. This offers them a certain form of specific privileges that cannot be shared by other individuals outside the ESL community. Such information is understandable within the confines and habits of the ESL community.
Production of new texts in the ESL community will require justification because s/he will be required to define the criteria to be used by the community in interpreting the new text conventions. This includes the appropriate use of texts in layout, formatting, punctuation, and contests. Information in ESL texts is represented in a variety of forms. The discourse forms vary depending on paragraphs, sentence groups, individual sentences, individual words, and sentence fragments. In terms of layout, “texts are differentiated in the manner in which they are abbreviated, the manner in which headings are placed, bolding, italicizing, enumerating, or alphabetizing, and even representing the information in charts (William 432). These representation of texts helps in reducing complexities that might be encountered during comprehensions. Formulating representations of meaning from the factors discussed above is dependent on the criteria of textual use in producing and comprehending.
Texts used in the ESL community must satisfy specific standards that appeal members of the ESL community. All language texts, concepts, expectations, diatypes must be registered by members of this community (Kasper 298). Use of texts is restricted to the communities’ forms of ethos and individuals that work together. ESL writers and readers use text confined exclusively to their commitment of a specified kind of ESL discourse and preferences.
ESL writers and students organize textual analysis such a manner that can enable them to learn the process of analyzing written discourses of the surrounding community and apply appropriate results to the understanding of the English language. For this reason, ESL writers are capable of using text to personalize their learning and reading initiatives in addition to selecting texts that is suitable to their proficiency levels. There is no doubt that the introduction and selection of specific texts in ESL writing techniques is critical in enabling learners to control their language development procedures. Increased availability of written discourse offers different genres for enhances specific written genres and rhetorical choices. This includes a wide variety of grammatical formats and lexicons adapted to suit their writing.
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