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Running head: Discourse Community

Discourse Community
Nikita I. Jimenez
RWS Rhetoric and Composition
UTEP

Discourse Community

A discourse community is group of people that share similar ideas, communication styles
and work to achieving a similar goal. Engineers are what make the world go round in this
modern day in age, designing and developing devices to help the human race excel in their
capabilities. Specifically mechanical engineers have one of the broadest engineering disciplines
than any other form of engineering. Mechanical engineers work towards designing, developing,
building and testing many technological devices. Lockheed Martin Corporation has many
skilled mechanical engineers who design and build military equipment and aircraft. Ever since I
decided that I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, there was one specific job that I wanted
to do, and that was build necessary equipment for the military. The company of Lockheed
Martin interested me, because one of its main jobs is, developing military combat equipment and
other necessary technologies.
Use of the term discourse community testifies to the increasingly common assumption
that discourse operates within convention defined by communities, be they academic disciplines
or social groups. (Herzberg, 1986). John Swales provides a portion of text from Herzberg to
define what a discourse community is, to give the audience a better understanding. Swales
describes what a discourse community is and what the main components that create this type of
social group. Specifically there are six types of characteristics that he believes define a discourse
community, because there are groups that shares these similar characteristics, but not to the full
extent as to what he is describing.
An engineer is person or group of people that design and build anything ranging from
building structures to roads to medical equipment and aircraft. They are the people that require
extensive knowledge in math, physics and other sciences. Mechanical engineers are people who

Discourse Community

mostly work on the mechanics of machines, electronic devices and other advanced technologies.
This broad discipline allows mechanical engineers to work in many job fields, since these type of
engineers have knowledge from other engineering disciplines. Lockheed Martin Corporation is
global aerospace company that employs approximately 125,000 people worldwide. This
companys main focus is research, design, development and even the manufacturing of advanced
systems and products. The sections of the job lining are Aerospace & Defense, Space, and
Emerging capabilities. Each section has the same type of people, those with innovative minds
choosing to help solve the challenges of the future, through the use of technology.
Both of these particular artifacts are relevant to the topic at hand, the first being the six
characteristics by Swales, this is the basis or rather the purpose for the document of discourse
communities, it is what defines the next artifact. The involvement of Swales six characteristics
helps the audience understand if the second artifact on Lockheed Martin Corporation is a valid
discourse community, by observing the characteristics that would define it. The artifact on
Lockheed Martin Corp. is the topic, the structure that is built from the base to the top, the main
point between these two artifacts. Lockheed Martin Corp. is a group of engineers and other
individuals that have the same goals and the same strive to better the world with the use of
technology.
Any particular social group needs to have the six characteristics described by Swales, the
first three are a broadly agreed set of common public goals, mechanisms of intercommunication
among its members, and the use of participatory mechanisms. The second three characteristics
that it needs to have are utilization of one or more genres in a communicative aspect, a
specifically acquired vocabulary and members with relevant knowledge on the content of the
discourse.

Discourse Community

The Lockheed Martin Corporation is designed to have all six of the characteristics,
because this company targets certain type of people with the same knowledge and skills to
perform the tasks at hand. This company is looking for and is made of engineers with similar
knowledge, skill set, mindset, and extensive problem solving skills. Their main goal is to
provide innovated solutions to help keep people safe. There are even subsections, to where
different specified engineers work on specific tasks, such as within the aerospace & defense,
there is a subsection of missile defense to where engineers design and develop technology that
has layered defense and accuracy, linking weapons, sensors and other elements to detect missile
threats. This is an example of how this corporation has discourse communities within the
discourse community.
In this corporation there is a certain intellectual communication that the people who work
there use, but this communication is also used by other engineers in different disciplines. It is
because each engineering discipline has similar education in regards to math, science and the
basic principles of engineering. Engineers use words such as hydraulic, calculation, conversion,
pneumatic, transmission and propulsion. But there are specific words used for mechanical and
aerospace engineering such as sprocket, gears, weld, elevation, propeller and velocity. These
vocabulary words help define the field of mechanical and aerospace engineering, there are many
more, quite a few that are even more perplex in pronunciation.
The engineers at Lockheed Martin Corp. work towards bettering the lives of many
people, but in order to be successful at that, they must have customers purchasing their products.
The people or rather the customers are the ones that keep this business alive, with their needs to
have something better, more advanced and technological. Customers whether it be the military,
or other regular companies seeking products, the way this process is done, is when the product is

Discourse Community

in demand, the engineers work to develop it ;then provide the company with information as to
how the product would work and how it should be handled for the best possible performance.
The corporation tells the people seeking further information about the corporation itself
or the type of employment that it has. They do this process in a very well thought out manor,
stating what the corporation is about and what it will do to better the technology being put to the
public. It uses vocabulary that describes the field without confusing the audience reading the
intended information.
There are different communicative forms within the subsections of this corporation, and
in engineering in general. Depending on which type of engineering you are within, there are
different and similar methods of communicating, such those who handle the business portion of
the corporation, need to know analytical terms, business terms and most importantly
technological terms, in order to sell the product to the customer. Each section of vocabulary is a
necessity of the engineering field and for the company itself because its how work is
accomplished. Communication is a very important aspect in the field of engineering, it is to
insure that all of the employees are on the same page, and that no errors will occur.
Each person that works in the corporation, needs to have extensive knowledge on the
mechanical or technological devices being designed or that will be used during the development
stage. Math, Physics and other science are absolutely necessary in order to achieve full success.
Each person needs to be able to work well alone and more importantly in a group, as teamwork
is essential in that particular environment. During the design process, the blueprints need to be
legible and easy to follow so other fellow employees can take over the project or do adjustments.
Lockheed Martin Corporation is a business that truly caught my eye for the sake of what
their intentions and goals are for helping and betting the lives of people all over the world. The

Discourse Community

mixture of aerospace and mechanical engineering technology is truly fascinating, and as an


added benefit, this corporation truly fits the profile of being a discourse community. The
communication styles, methods of getting work accomplished in organized manners are what
help this corporation be categorized as a discourse community.

References

Discourse Community

Swales, John. The Concept of Discourse Community. Genre Analysis: English in


Academic and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990. 21-32. Print.

(March 1995). Lockheed Martin Corporation.


Retrieved from http://www.lockheedmartin.com/

(September 5, 2012). Swales 6 Characteristics of Discourse Communities.


Retrieved from https://eng1020jankensfall2012.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/swales6-characteristics-of-discourse-communities/