Literacy, discourse and linguistics: introduction

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Literacy, Discourse and Linguistics: Introduction
Author: James Paul Gee

Thought # 4

▪ If Gee is right, what does it mean about learning to write? To decide whether he is right, test hisassertions: do they make sense against your experience? What about the professor studied by Kleine?

In this text, James Paul Gee expounds an interesting theory about the Discourse. According toGee, the Discourse represents the way people talk, read, write, think, interact and behave based on certain rolls that have been accepted by specific groups of people. The Discourse stands for how we arein this world and how are our lives modeled. Each person belongs to many Discourses, and each one of them represents one of our many characteristics. Each Discourse includes a theory in relation tothe person’s characteristics and the right way to think, feel and behave. The author connects his theoretical concepts with concrete examples of Discourses. In this case, Gee analyzes the narration ofa little girl.

The language always appears to be joined with the social relations, cultural models, the government, the politics, the beliefs, the principles, the attitudes and the personalexperience. Literacy should be understood in a social cultural context. Thus, in order to comprehend reading and writing it is necessary to study it in the specific social practices where these are used.In the same way, learning to write consists in the concatenation of the cognitive and social-cultural parts.

Based on my own experience, I believe Gee’s theory has much right things. I agree withthe fact a person must be socialized or become familiar with a specific practice to learn how to interpret the texts of such practice. For instance, I never had training doing research papers, butsince I have to produce a research for this class, the terms and the methodology are growing in my mind or at least are not irrelevant. The knowledge, capacities and attitudes to read are acquired...
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