Reading Response to Johnstone Article ENGL 3050 2/14/2016

Barbara Johnstone uses this article to share her opinion on what discourse analysis means to her, and to explain the science behind the decisions that are made while speaking. As explained by Johnstone in the introduction of her book Discourse Analysis, 2nd ed., “Analyzing discourse is examining aspects of the structure and function of language in use.” Johnstone’s article digs deeper into the reasons we choose to speak the way we do, and discusses the strategies that play out in discussions.   When talking about discourse analysis, or rhetoric, I use the terms speaking and writing extremely loosely. Rhetoric is seen in all forms; written, spoken, painted, picture, and even through video. In my opinion that was Johnstone’s entire point throughout this article; she wanted her reading audience to be able to understand that every single thing in the world is placed at the perfect place, at the perfect time, for a perfectly strategic reason. For example, she explains in the article that an ad placed out side of a theatre thanking all of its joined members, is not only placed there to thank the people that have already subscribed to this theatre magazine, but also to encourage other people to join. The readers of this particular ad would be drawn in and tempted to join without the creator of the ad having to say anything directed straight at those people.

Johnstone also explains the importance, as an audience, to understand rhetorical approaches. She explains that it is extremely important to have an understanding of this rhetorical decisions not only as a writer, but also as an audience. As a listening audience member, engaged reader, or lover of the news you can be easily fooled and tricked into believing false information if you are not aware of the strategies being but in place through such beautiful wording. Likewise, she explains that it is also very important to be able to understand it as a writer; all writers should be able to touch every audience. It is important to understand that not everyone will want to read five hundred words typed into a blog post, but that same reader will be extremely interested in five words plastered across a picture of a grumpy cat. This ties into what Dr. Woodsworth presented to us today in class. Like Johnstone, she also spoke on the importance of making sure that what the message you are trying to convey, is actually the message that gets herd. It is important to realize that someone saying, “I’m sorry you do not agree with me” is completely different than someone saying, “I am sorry you feel that way, but we may have to agree to disagree this time.” Understanding that there are small “hidden” messages within other messages can help develop better writers, as well as better listeners. Discourse, formatting, and rhetoric shapes everything; they determine the way things are heard, seen, and understood. One small change in a rhetorical decision can change the entire way a conversation takes place and whether or not there is a positive outcome at the end.

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