Ben’s Unit 2
The study of linguistics is quite broad and can be categorized into many distinctions. These distinctions examine intimately how language is used in different aspects and situations both spoken and written form. This paper reviews a scholarly journal and the articles contained over a period of two years. Although it takes the form of an academic review, its focus is on the use of language within the content of its articles. A number of concepts acquired from my coursework are incorporated into this paper, as they are important in understanding language as a tool of writing. Such concepts include genre analysis, discourse community and discourse analysis.
An understanding of the above concepts offers both writers and speakers of the English language an opportunity to create informative works of literature. This is because they can help to distinguish the audience the material is intended for, a factor necessary if one wants to achieve their purpose of writing or making a speech. An observation of the trends in the writing of articles within the journal will yield answers to the question of how some aspects of language has been utilized to achieve the purpose of publishing the journal. The paper, therefore, seeks to not only review the selected journal with regard to linguistics, but also to establish its relevance to my academic field.
Current Issues in education is an educational journal published by the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers’ College, an affiliate of the Arizona State University. The journal focuses on issues and trends in the educational sector, with an aim of promoting education in the country. Being a product of the university, its publication frequency revolves around the institutions curriculum. The journal is available in an online format, with only one volume consisting of three issues annually. These issues coincide with the semesters of the university with the first one published during spring, the second in summer and the last in fall. Each journal issue contains a number of articles whose authors are drawn from various institutions around the world. This means that topics are of a wide variety although the focus is on educational matters or scholarship. This is enhanced by the fact that it is an open access journal.
It is produced by graduate students of The Arizona State University who also constitute the membership of the editorial board. All the members of this board are affiliated directly to the main university and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers’ College. The main sponsor of the journal has always been the Arizona state university, itself an educational institution. Its main mission is to promote scholarly thought by publishing articles, which advance research, dialogue, practice and policy. It further seeks to develop a community of scholarship.
There are a number of requirements, which authors have to adhere to in order to have their articles published. For instance, all submissions of manuscripts should be made online. Additionally, the authors should ensure that they are no more than 40 pages, written using the official English language and with adherence to the American Psychological Association 6th edition format. Since the journal contains peer-reviewed articles, the manuscripts must be blinded meaning that any information given should not compromise the identity of the author. These are some of the criteria listed in the journal, which act as publication guidelines.
Discourse refers to any form of written or spoken communication. They are a form of representation, conventions, codes, habits of language used to produce specific fields. Discourse community is defined in different ways, but the most relevant to this paper is that the contents of the journal are intended for people. They are a group of persons with a common goal and purpose who use communication to achieve both (Borg 398). Language is the form of communication being studied in this case. In essence, all forms of communication within a discourse community are aimed at achieving a certain goal. The form of writing used in journals is one example of achievement of the laid out purposes in a discourse community. This is because their content targets a specific group of people, who are sharing a common purpose.
Current Issues in Education Journal has a distinct discourse community. It targets all stakeholders in the education sector both nationally and internationally. Such stakeholders include educators, scholars, researchers, officials in the sector and the public. As mentioned earlier, it is in an open access journal meaning it can be read by anyone, and its contributing authors are drawn from all over the world. However, a closer look at its contents and reviews on the same reveal that it is meant to bring together persons involved in matters of education. Its target audience is classified as a discourse community because of some of the distinctions it possesses.
For instance, contributions and viewership of the articles in the journal require no proximity. This means that it is not restricted to members from a certain region or geographical dispensation. This is among several distinctions that discourse community has from the speech community to which the reviewed journal adheres. Additionally, it connotes a centrifugal aspect whereby its readers are specific, implying a separation from a larger group to a specific interest group. The authors of the articles in the journal range from different fields but are united by a common purpose, in this case, issues that define the current state of the education sector. From this evaluation, it is evident that the selected journal for review has fulfilled the characteristics of a discourse community.
Discourse analysis, with regard to linguistics, involves the study of how language has been used in written or unwritten text to achieve a specific purpose (Gee 7). The process of discourse analysis can be conducted in various ways including genre analysis. Genre analysis is also an aspect of aspect of studying linguistics, which falls under the wider concept of discourse analysis. It helps to identify certain features of language in any form of discourse. Genre refers to how things are done, but in this context, it deciphers certain characteristics of language. Journals can be written in various genres, but in this instance, it is non-fiction. This is because its articles are based on real issues, most of which are backed by rigorous research work. The authors of journal articles are often trying to convince or persuade the reader to take a certain stand on a given issue. An observation of a certain emerging trend is made, and authors want either to inform readers of its existence or to persuade them to see their point of view.
For instance in Issue 1 of Volume 16, the author is exploring the concept of educational poverty, using Alaska as the basis of its study (Jones et al 2). It introduces the readers to a new concept, which has apparently lost its place in the education dialogue. After thorough research, they use their findings to persuade readers of the article to side with them on the matter. Issue 1 of Volume 15 uses research to answer the question of whether education causes spiritual belief change. Readers are taken through various examples of persons grappling with religious issues in the course of their education. While it does not offer a concise answer, it challenges readers to ponder over the findings and encourage further research into the topic.
This genre of non-fiction is widely used in the articles of the journal, unaccompanied by other genres. All the topics the genre addresses indeed affect the education sector worldwide. In other words, authors ponder over existing issues or seek answers to questions they think ought to have been asked. When authors of this journal use this genre, their aim is to foster interactions between those who the said issues affect, in this case, stakeholders in the education sector. They want to establish a rapport or otherwise bridge the gap between all people affected by the issues arising in this industry.
The articles in this journal are not always written by one author. Instead, there is room for multiple contributions into the same work. All these writers must have a common goal or characteristics for them to collaborate on a single piece of text. As aforementioned, all work seeking to be published in the journal is submitted through the internet portal. This means that the writers mostly work on the genre using computers. The work is read by everyone since its access is not restricted like that of journals with subscription policies. The readers of these articles must clearly have an interest in educational matters otherwise; their purpose of reading will be that of leisure. From the context of the journal articles, it is evident that the readers possess shared beliefs and interests (Bawarshi et al 3).
Writers use this genre to create awareness and enhance critical thinking. Readers are provided with information through this genre, which they use to advance their interests. The content of the journal, therefore, serves to enlighten its audience on trends in the educational field, and this knowledge can be used to advance their own personal interests on the matter. Stakeholders in the education sector need the knowledge contained in this journal to help them enhance the quality of scholarship globally. Using this genre in the journal articles, both the authors and their intended audience fulfill the purpose of non-fictional writing.
Writers use the third person in writing their articles, and their artistic presence is fully felt in their work. It is obvious that readers are targeted for their personal interest in matters affecting education. They share a common belief and expectation that education should always be at its best. The journal articles use visual effects of a wide variety to emphasize on their subject matter. The manner of writing used follows the American psychological association format, with no footnotes (Benesch 17). Section headings are used to guide the reader and enhance the flow of text. All the articles are formal, with the authors being highly dispassionate. Simplicity of language is adhered to strictly. From the sample of journal articles examined there is the incorporation of background or historical information into the texts.
Consultations for the articles are made from a variety of sources through different methods of research. Given that the articles are usually based on different topics, then the consultations involve various individuals and institutions related to the topic at hand. Intimate knowledge of the subject forms the basis of consultation to prevent publishing of unsubstantiated material. All information related to the subject of discussion are included in the articles, and if need be for more, recommendations are made by the authors requesting for additional research. This means a call for the advancement of that particular work to include any information that was left out. This is often done to avoid inclusion of fictional material.
The language is not as descriptive as that used in works of fiction as there is no urgent need to create a vivid picture of events. Although the readers are engaged in persuasive dialogue, they are usually made aware that the topics under discussion are not fictional. Therefore, the graphics used in these journal articles are mainly for the purpose of emphasis. The people invoked in the articles are not characterized with detailed information. The language used to describe them is highly passive. The events in the articles appear chronologically, with little or no repetition. The only connection between the articles seems to stem from the fact that their content throughout the history of the journal, revolve around education.
The above is a conclusive discourse analysis of the journal. The journal achieves the purpose it sets out to do by offering the readers information about education and giving them a chance to contribute to its mission. This mission is what constitutes a shared goal among its readers. By reading and contributing to the journal through article writing and reviews, the readers are enhancing education. Stakeholders in the educational sector advance their dialogues on ways to facilitate improvement of scholarship globally. This achievement of its purpose forms its main strength as a journal. Furthermore, its unrestrictive nature, which allows access by everyone, also helps in achieving its goal.
From this journal review, which has explored a linguistic approach, there is a lot to learn about my field of study. My target audience is the professionals in my discipline to highlight what I have gained from this particular inquiry. The journal review is relevant to my field of study because of the aspect of linguistics. This paper has not only achieved the purpose of reviewing the selected journal, but also given me the opportunity to put into practice the concepts acquired from my coursework. Through this exercise, I have learnt the importance of language in the success of written communication.
An understanding of linguistics helps in ensuring that writers are successful in their quest to provide information (Mahboob et al 45). For instance, the mode of language used in the journal was clear and concise, without any deviations from the main subject. This is because the authors of the journal articles are aware of the importance of genre when writing. Unlike other forms of genre where authors may skirt around a certain topic, non-fictional writing as used in the journal requires subjectivity and accuracy in doing so. Paying attention to the needs of the target audience also helps in deciding the language to be used when writing, also observed in the journal article samples.
Conclusively, it is crucial to study linguistics for purposes of communication, whether or not one’s field of study requires it. Linguistics should not only be restricted to English studies; instead, they could be incorporated into other disciplines, as they can be useful to those seeking to be writers in the future. Evidence of this is in the authors of the Current Issues in Education Journal where writers are drawn from various disciplines of education. This is regardless of whether they study English or Mathematics. This asserts the fact that linguistics is an important aspect of education, more so, where communication is concerned. This has been proved in this paper through a review of the journal using a linguistic approach.
Bawarshi, Anis S, and Mary J. Reiff. Genre: An Introduction to History, Theory, Research, and Pedagogy. West Lafayette, Ind: Parlor Press, 2010. Print.
Benesch, Sarah. Critical English for Academic Purposes: Theory, Politics, and Practice. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates, 2001. Print.
Borg, E. “Key Concepts in ELT: Discourse Community.” ELT Journal. Retrieved from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/4/398.full.pdf+html
Gee, James P. An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method. Milton Park, Abingdon [England: Routledge, 2012. Internet resource.
Jones A., Salinas C. “Educational Poverties in Alaska: Teachers’ Perspectives.” Current Issues in Education, 2013. Retrieved from http://cie.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/cieatasu/article/view/1081/455
Mahboob, Ahmar, and Naomi Knight. Appliable Linguistics. London: Continuum International Pub. Group, 2010. Internet resource.