A discourse community is a group of people who share a particular interest and use a certain register of language to communicate with each other. A register is another way in which how something is said or written and can be just as important as what is said or written for the meaning of the message (Sergeant, 2010, p. 50). We communicate with each other in many ways, either by email, telephone, text, face to face, social media or letters and the language we use allows us to get things done, however the language and communication method we chose to use will vary dependent on the discourse community. Linguist John Swales describes discourse communities to be people who share the same set of goals, use specialist vocabulary, and use appropriate language relating to a shared interest within a certain subject or activity they expertise in. Each discourse community includes its own individual terms of language, words relating to the community carry special meanings within the subject or activity as part of the community, this helps communication between members easier to understand and enables tasks to be effective and precise to reach the goals they have set (Sergeant, 2010, p. 62-63).
A few examples of discourse communities who would use specialist language within their area of expertise includes doctors, teachers and scientists. However it is not only professional occupations that are classed as discourse communities, the language we use towards friends, family and when undergoing our hobbies or general day to day lives also differs depending on who we are communicating with and what activity we are carrying out, each of these groups is also classed as a discourse community. Any type of activity we do that uses a set of language written or spoken in relation to the activity carried out is classified as a discourse community. .
I personally belong to multiple discourse communities, these include being a student at the Open University, a dance teacher, working part time within TV and Film, my groups of friends and my family.