The Franklin Road Church of Christ youth group consists of youth of all ages. The group is divided into three subgroups: Tots for Christ (TFC), Kids for Christ (KFC), and the Senior Youth Group (SYG). In particular, for this essay I will be explaining how the Senior Youth Group is a discourse community. Franklin Road’s SYG consists of the ages 11-18. Within the group we do various things such as going to youth retreats, youth conferences, and many more; just to name a few. The group has been around for many years, all the way back to when my parents were kids. I have been a member of SYG ever since I was a baby; therefore I have enough knowledge about how this group in fact is a discourse community according to John Swales six criteria.
Before I begin, let me tell you a little about who Swales is. He was a professor of linguistics at The University of Michigan, who received his PhD in psychology from Cambridge University in 1957. During his years as a professor he wrote a book called Genre Analysis, within a chapter of this book Swales discuses what a discourse community is and how it is different from a speech community. Swales states that “speech communities are centripetal (they tend to absorb people into that general fabric), whereas discourse communities are centrifugal (they tend to separate people into occupational or specialty – interest groups)” (471). To make his argument stronger he develops six criteria that a group should have in order to be considered a discourse community.
The first criterion is that every discourse community should have "a broadly agreed set of common public goals" (Swales, 471). What Swales is saying is that the group must have a goal that all the members know of and agree on. The goal can be explicit or tacit. The goal of the group expresses what the group wants to accomplish to its members and future members of the group. The goal of my youth group is to prepare youth to become future leaders of the church and in the world, how to be faithful Christians, and it is a support system for the members. To show that the goal is agreed on by members of the group I interviewed another member of the group besides myself, who is Lonale Stewart Jr. He expresses that “the goal of the group is to help youth become better leaders in the church as a Christian” (Stewart). The goal of SYG is tacit. This is because the goal is not written down but it is known by all members and is something that is stressed, especially to new members. The way that it is stressed and communicated is by constantly reminding the members to always have a Christian attitude, to support one another, to be leaders, and to set good examples for younger youth. The longer you are in the group it becomes something that you just know, it’s like embedded in you. This happens because after hearing it repeatedly over the years it becomes something you know like the back of your hand.
In order for a group to be successful at fulfilling its goal it...