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Homework answers / question archive / Alexa Tedeschi Professor Reed English 202B August 4th, 2021 The Amish The Amish are an example of a discourse community

Alexa Tedeschi Professor Reed English 202B August 4th, 2021 The Amish The Amish are an example of a discourse community


Alexa Tedeschi Professor Reed English 202B August 4th, 2021 The Amish The Amish are an example of a discourse community. A discourse community refers to a group of people who share common sets of basic values and beliefs. They hold similar assumptions and have a common way of communicating their goals. John Swales gives a vivid description of discourse communities' meaning, saying that they are "groups with goals and purposes, and use communication to achieve their goals" (Zang, p. 70). The Amish thus conforms to the characteristics of discourse communities since they hold similar values, beliefs, and practices. Background Information The Amish are a group of traditionalists of Christian church fellowships from North America that follow common beliefs. They trace back their origin to the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church from the late 17th Century and among followers of Jakob Ammann. The Mennonite church headed by Ammann practiced controversial religious teachings. For instance, lying was prohibited among members of the Ammann, and anyone found lying would be excommunicated. The church socially shunned excommunicated Mennonites, who were thus not allowed to interact with the rest of the community (Britannica, pp. 2-6). The Amish gradually eliminated themselves from the Mennonite group and began migrating to North America early in the 18th Century. In 1850, tension arose between the "New-order Amish," who accepted technological diversification as well as social change, and the traditional "Old-order Amish," who were against civilization. The two groups thus formed separate churches, and each practiced 2 different values; however, most traditional Amish are members of the Old Order Amish Mennonite Church. The Old-order Amish are famously known for their conspiracy theories. They have a strict belief system against technology; they are hence against the use of telephones and electricity. The Amish contend that electric power lines or telephone lines connect them with non-believers; thus would join their homes with the "less holy" neighbors. Believes and Way of Life The Amish people lead quite a simple lifestyle; they alienate themselves from modern inconveniences that they believe would disrupt their ways of living. They are strongly devoted to their religious beliefs, which is a curious factor to many people in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The Amish embrace their lifestyle with pride, from their mode of dressing and use of horse-drawn carriages. Amish Language/Vocabulary and Communication The Amish predominantly speak English and Pennsylvania Dutch (PD) in the U.S. However, their mode of speaking differs from society at large (Luterbacher, pp. 6-5). When speaking English, the Amish speak in a way that emphasizes throw-in words like "once, yet, all, and a while." Thus, their way of speaking in some contexts differs from others since they often change the meaning or add value to sentences. Most Amish in the U.S. also speak Pennsylvania Dutch (PD), which they adopted from the Germans during immigration in the 18th Century. The Amish speak PD, which they largely use in making sermons during church services. They often use English when conversing with their non-Amish friends and relatives. Nonetheless, English remains the dominant medium of communication used in education, as their schools typically use English when making instructions (Zook, pp. 1-6). The Amish value their identity; they have maintained their language, making Pennsylvania Dutch and standard German an important symbol of identity. The Amish hold that their language connects them with their spiritual heritage; thus, they actively use it and pass it on to their children. 3 A high-context culture mostly characterizes the Amish communication pattern. The majority of Amish communication, especially in the church, is nonverbal since there are highly non-confrontational. Their humility nature does not allow them to be too outspoken. Communication with the outside communities only happens when necessary. The Amish culture expects every member to respect the elders, who are considered to hold great wisdom. The Amish do not use pet names as they regard them as too superficial; they are also not supposed to be too enthusiastic when laughing. Burping after meals are highly embraced since it symbolizes that one enjoyed the food. Goals, Beliefs, Attitudes, and Assumptions The Amish people's goals, beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions stem from their Christian religion and history. The Amish people believe in one God; their faith calls them to be hardworking and disciplined. Religion also encourages them to maintain calmness and humility; thus, members cannot express themselves, and self-promotion is forbidden. The Amish closely follow the Bible's teachings, and members who do not adhere to their religious beliefs and practices get shunned by the church and community. They hold their religious services in members' homes, and their mass involves washing the feet and communion. The Amish celebrate religious holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Good Friday, and Pentecost. The Amish beliefs suggest that they are not allowed to conform to the world. In this case, they stay away from modern products and services that prevent them from maintaining and adhering to their beliefs. For instance, they have several assumptions that prevent them from using technology. They do not use electricity hence no computers, televisions, or radios since they believe that electric power lines or telephone lines connect them with non-believers; thus would join their homes with the "less holy" neighbors. The Amish also do not own cars; since they believe that doing so would create inequality within the community. However, they may accept a ride from someone with a car. Moreover, they are not allowed to take photographs as they believe that it may cause vanity. Behaviors and Practices of the Amish 4 The majority of the Amish people live in small communities that often consist of about 20 households. Their houses are often clustered around the church. The majority of the Amish people are often found in Canada, Bolivia, Argentina, and other states. The Amish families often work together in shared labor. The children carry out chores from an early age and grow into strong, hardworking adults. On the other hand, the wives must obey their husbands by always following their decisions, and divorce is treated as a sin, hence not allowed. The Amish follow unique behaviors and practices which make up their lifestyle. They are excellent farmers; they grow most of their food and only purchase few necessities like sugar and flour. All grades are taught in the same class in traditional Amish schools, thus grades 1-8. Children often attend school until they reach grade 8 and drop since they believe that education beyond that stage is unnecessary for their lifestyle. After completing their education, boys and girls get instructed on their life-long duties, which often involve boys farming while the girls undertake household duties. Nonetheless, the Amish represent a social community. Women often gather together to assist one another in performing various chores. The Amish wear clothes that reflect their religion and express their humility and simplicity. It is quite easy to note the Amish since the men often wear dark suits with pants held by suspenders. The men put on brown shoes when working; the black shoes are often reserved for formal occasions. They also wear straw hats in warm weather conditions. On the other hand, the women and girls do not wear pants. They only put on skirts and dresses and often an apron and a cape over them. When in public or formal gatherings, women wear black stockings, bonnets, and shawls. Dealing with Conflicts Due to their humility, the Amish have specific ways of dealing with conflicts. They often remain calm when addressing conflicting situations; they do not argue when things go wrong or handle difficult moments. Since they are discouraged from being outspoken, the Amish internalize a lot of their pain and struggles; thus are very selective when discussing their suffering. For instance, when mothers find 5 trouble with their children while taking care of them, they often internalize their frustration and pray to God to release the pain since they believe he would help them. The Amish are thus a unique group of people who share common sets of basic values and beliefs. Their belief in common assumptions maintains unity among them. Moreover, their culture's emphasis on working together makes them unique from other communities. 6 Works Cited Birell, Ian. ‘Our Faith Will be Lost if we Adopt Technology’: Can the Amish Resist the Modern World? The Guardian. (2018). Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Amish". Encyclopedia Britannica, 28 Jul. 2021, Accessed 4 August 2021. Zhang, Ying. "An Examined Life of a Language Teacher of Chinese: An Autoethnographic Investigation Into Agency." (2019). Zook, Chris. The Guide to Amish & Mennonite Vocabulary (from an Ex-Mennonite). Gents of Lancaster. (2020). Luterbacher, Celia. ‘I recognise every word, but I have no idea what you’re saying.’ Swiss perspectives in 10 languages.

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