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Barton and Hamilton discuss literacy and social practices in depth in their article titled, “Literacy Practices.” The authors explain how mout forms of literacy have always had some type of social connection attached. Weather it be literacy connected to verbal communication, or simply reading for pleasure, there is usually a human connection that occurs. The social response tied to literacy can have drastic differences depending on the discourse communities it reaches. For example: a community living in poverty would have a very different reaction to a news story about…oh I don’t know…free Thanksgiving dinners, than a community living in Beverly Hills would.

Dicpscourse communities are a topic I have studied extensively here at Rowan University, and can be broken down into a definition as simply as, “A community of people who share a common interest and use similar language to communicate…which usually only makes sense among the community.”

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To give a further example of discourse communities: I have studied ballet my entire life, and sometimes write for dance blogs, magazines, or forums. There is very highly specialized vocabulary in the ballet world that only dancers would ever understand. If I used the same vocabulary in my everyday life that I use when speaking amongst fellow dancers, people would look at me like I was insane! All ballet dancers have a deep understanding of other dancer’s lives and can therefore speak freely without worrying about not being understood by outsiders.

This article by Barton and Hamilton was fairly eye opening, but I feel like most people already knew social aspect was tied to literacy. Maybe I’m wrong!

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