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The discourse analyzed in this paper was created by Muneera Qahtani, an immigrant student, who comments on the issue from the perspective of her own experience. The problems of immigration, following acculturation and the related legal issues, particularly, the failure of the immigration reform of 2013, are rendered in the discourse. Although the discourse in question represents the opinion of only one person and, therefore, might be deemed as lacking objectivity, the ability of the author to integrate several points of view into her analysis of the problem, as well as the incorporation of the politeness strategies into the argument, makes the discourse very compelling and trustworthy, therefore, prompting the incorporation of the democratic tools into the implementation of the immigration related concerns.
As far as the genre is concerned, the text in question can be regarded as a mixture between an explanation and a two-sided argument. A closer look at the key characteristics of the discourse in question will reveal that the text incorporates the key elements of an explanation. Specifically, the fact that the author sheds a lot of light on the subject of immigration, providing detailed descriptions of how the life of an immigrant factors in the American reality, should be mentioned (par. 4).
Moreover, the author provides a rather short, yet very concise definition of the reasons for someone to immigrate into another country, USA in the specified case, by stating that insurmountable difficulties usually predispose the necessity to immigrate (par. 1–2). However, the author goes beyond simply explaining the mechanism behind the social acceptance of immigrants – or, to be more exact, the lack thereof – and opens a discussion of the subject matter. Specifically, the author mentions that living in one’s country of origin is not only natural, but also socially acceptable, whereas immigration is a product of one’s incapability to handle complex problems (par. 24–25).
Therefore, the presupposition, which the author sets, can be defined as the lack of clarity around the immigration issue. As a result, the significance of the problem resolution, as well as the representation of the immigrant issue, is in the foreground, whereas the role of the average citizens in the problem in question is in the background. In addition, the author makes it obvious that the problem of immigration must be solved so that people could be able to live in the state that they were born in.
At the same time, the author acknowledges the difficulties related to the process of reducing immigration rates to zero by admitting that the latter has been taking place since the dawn of time. Therefore, the author provides a compelling summary of the problem by viewing it from different perspectives and suggesting her own solutions to the problem. The genre defines the framing to a considerable extent, as it narrows the discourse down to the one-person analysis of the problem; moreover, the frames set by the author may prevent viewing the issue from the perspective of native residents as opposed to that of immigrants.
Since most of the discourse provided by Muneera consists of requests as opposed to declarations and warnings, the felicity conditions for the former need to be considered first. Muneera asks the state government to provide free education opportunities for all children disregarding their ethnicity, content, etc.; therefore, the statement in question can be seen as a propositional request condition. Despite not being introduced as a sentence in the Future Tense, the par. 36 can be considered a graphic example of a request that is expected to be fulfilled by the state government. At the same time, the author of the discourse incorporates certain elements of a warning into her message, as she clearly points out that in case of disregarding the immigration issue people will face dire consequences (par. 39). The discourse in question is spoken by one person and is directed at all denizens of the U.S. population.
From the perspective of Grice’s maxims, the text under analysis can be considered rather informative; in other words, the maxim of quantity is represented in the excerpt fully. The author provides a plethora of facts regarding the issue of immigration, rendering the topics such as the U.S. government policy concerning immigration (par. 20), the link between NAFTA and the immigration problem (par. 20), the acculturation issue, which a range of immigrants have to face when moving to another country, etc.
The discourse under analysis also follows the principles of the maxim of quality, which dictates that the text should provide the data that is objective and true to reality. It is quite remarkable that the text in question renders a very touchy and controversial issue, yet surprisingly lacks emotion. It would have been very easy for the author of the text to identify the par. of arguments that they could agree with easily, at the same time dismissing the opponents’ ideas. However, the author of the discourse shows in a very graphic manner that there is no easy answer to the questions posed by all those concerned, as well as that there are no actual villains to accuse or retaliate accusations to.
Although the author of the discourse renders a range of topics, including the government financial policies (par. 20), the problem of culture clash (par. 4), the challenges that an immigrant is forced to overcome in a foreign country (par. 9), etc., hey still manage to stay relevant to the topic and tie the above-mentioned issues in with the subject matter, i.e., the issue of immigration.
Finally, as far as the maxim of manner is concerned, the argument conveyed by the author is presented in a clear and orderly manner, which makes it a convincing and compelling speech. The layout of the text is quite basic, the author providing an argument and then supporting it with the existing evidence to get the next message across, and so on. While being rather basic, the specified approach works quite efficiently, as clarity is used as a tool for enhancing the key message, i.e., the fact that the immigration issue should be dealt with by viewing it from the perspective of immigrants as well as the U.S. residents.
Additionally, the approach, which Muneera adopts in her argument in order to get her message across, incorporates several politeness strategies, which reinforce the power of her message and contribute to convincing the audience. Moreover, the author uses politeness in different levels of discourse, therefore, creating a very positive impression. For instance, Muneera complies with the key principles of pragmatic politeness by using the modal verbs such as “should,” as in par. 42.
Thus, the elements of pragmatic politeness clearly shine through in the discourse. The excerpts that can be viewed as the representations of normative politeness, however, are rather few, which drops the quality of the argument down a few notches. Therefore, the level of the author’s pragmatic competence can be deemed as moderately high, yet the communicative level may require a minor upgrade.
The specified issue in the communicative department may be explained as the result of the transfer of the communication process into the English language area, while the participant clearly does not have the skills required for displaying communicative competence. The lack of skills mentioned above can be proven by a close analysis of some of the grammatical mistakes made by Muneera, such as the omission of an auxiliary verb (par. 4), prepositions confusion (par. 10, 11), etc. Thus, the notion of face is clearly represented in the discourse, since the author managed to remain objective and provide a full overview of the issue without reducing herself to accusing one of the sides and misrepresenting it in order to win an argument. Likewise, the notion of involvement also shines through as Muneera displays her engagement in the conflict and its fast resolution (par. 24).
The notion of independence, in its turn, is barely visible in the discourse, as the author acknowledges the legitimacy of the arguments directed against immigrants along with the ones that support the target population. The application of the contrastive perspective to the analysis shows that the author does not have any misconceptions about the situation concerning immigration, which may have arisen due to the author’s origin. Instead, Muneera avoids using stereotypes as the basis for her arguments; instead, the author represents a rather objective and, therefore, unique point of view on the economic (par. 20), political (par. 22), cultural (par. 1–10) and educational (par. 15, 25) issues related to the problem. More importantly, the author also renders the subject of parent–child bonding in a hostile environment of a foreign country, therefore, touching on a series of psychological issues.
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The sequence and structure of the discourse in question, though generally being easy to follow, might be considered somewhat sloppy in certain parts of the discourse. Specifically, the shift from the analysis of the educational issues related to immigration to mentioning family values (par. 36–37) may seem slightly awkward. Likewise, the preference organisation might be a little inconsistent in some parts of the discourse (par. 18–19), as the problem with children suffering from underrepresentation of their culture does not lead to any call for action. Seeing that the discourse is represented by a monologue, no adjacency pairs or conversational turns can be observed in the text.
Finally, the grammar of the discourse seems to be its weakest part. While most sentences are logically tied together and represent a very reasonable par. of arguments, misprints and misuse of grammatical tenses catch the eye rather quickly, thus, reducing the value of the discourse slightly.
The underlying ideological values of the discourse in question are relatively easy to trace, as the author clearly speaks for the promotion of democratic principles as the basis for treating immigrants properly. At the same time, Muneera focuses a lot on the legal aspects of the issue, therefore, providing at least two perspectives on the subject matter.
Among the key values underlying the discourse in question, the significance of the basic democratic principles, including equality, should be mentioned. The author states quite a few times that there is an obvious need for establishing the relationships between the native residents and the immigrants, therefore, pointing out the problem of the culture clash, which can be expected in the specified scenario.
As it has been stressed above, the issue is interpreted from several perspectives, including the ones of government, the local people and the immigrants. As a result, the argument suggested by the author is unlikely to spawn little to no production or reproduction of any kind of inequalities. Indeed, while the author has obviously been the victim of a range of cultural prejudices, as many immigrants are, she still evaluates the problem from a logical perspective without resorting to rancorous opposition.
Although the discourse in question may lack coherence and have grammatical issues, it provides a decent overview of the problem with a par. of convincing arguments and an objective analysis of the situation. Naturally, the discourse has certain limitations, the objectivity issue being the most obvious one. Being a narrative constructed by one person, it does not reflect the multitude of opinions and only touches upon the most dubious issues.
Nevertheless, even with the above-mentioned boundaries set in a rather rigid manner, the author managed to get her message across successfully. It can be recommended that future studies should incorporate narratives from at least two students, though. Original and providing a unique solution to the immigration issue, Muneera’s discourse can be considered quite impressive.