1. In “Literacy, Discourses, and Linguistics: Introductions” by James Paul Gee, he introduces us to the ideas of Discourse. He defines Discourse with the seven building tasks, “saying (writing)-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations” (Gee 6). He also says that “a Discourse is a sort of ‘identity kit’ which comes complete with the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk,and often write” (Gee 7). Every Discourse has its own unique combinations that will characterize it as either a primary, secondary, dominant, or non-dominant Discourse. To become fluent in a discourse you must go through an apprenticeship with a master. The language, or “saying (writing)” aspect is the most important aspect of this discourse because you must know the unique discourse language to be able to understand it, therefore you will not be able to mushfake your way in.
    1. Of Gee’s 7 building tasks, the language one is most important when acquiring a new discourse.
  2. The Discourse of construction, specifically building houses, can be primary or secondary, depending on the individual. Being a builder is a primary Discourse because you can learn it at home when you are young from your family. If you were not exposed to this Discourse from an early age, it would be considered a secondary Discourse, one in which you acquire from school or work. The Discourse of building houses is also a dominant Discourse because it brings in social goods such as money, learning new skills, gaining experience, and even bringing in more customers when they see the great work your company is capable of.
    1. The Discourse of construction and building houses is a hybrid discourse between primary and secondary.
    2. Point- can be primary or secondary depending on the individual
  3. Building houses is a long process that involves many different people. As far as identities go, there are a lot. You start with the homeowner and home building firm. Within the building firm there are developers, architects, sales consultants, construction superintendents, and many more important roles. The house building Discourse is very unique because it uses lots of “language” that means one thing to everyday people, but a whole different thing to the workers. One example from the Curry article is the word elevation, which in the case of building houses, means the look on the front facade of the home. Because of all these homographs, and other unique words, I think it will be hard to mushfake your way through this Discourse.
    1. In every discourse there are “identity kits” and in construction there are many different identities that make building a house possible.  
    2. Point- many different identities
  4. Gee defines a Primary Discourse as one that we acquire “through our primary socialization early in life in the home and peer group” (Gee 7). A Secondary Discourse, on the other hand, is something that we acquire through “interacts with various non-home based social institutions- institutions in the public sphere, beyond the family and immediate kin and peer group” (Gee 8). Building houses can either be a primary or secondary Discourse, depending on the individual. For me it is my primary Discourse because my dad has been a builder since before I was born and growing up, I was always around him, at the job sites, and exposed to the house building Discourse. Gee says that Primary Discourses are acquired “not by overt instruction, but by being a member of a primary socializing group (family, clan, peer group)” (Gee 8). I came into the Discourse from my dad (family). To someone else, the construction Discourse would be secondary. With a Secondary Discourse “we are given access to these institutions [local stores and churches, schools, community groups, state and national businesses, agencies and organizations, and so forth] and are allowed apprenticeship with in them” (Gee 8). Building houses is a job that most people start sometime after school, so they are given access to the institution, and they have an apprenticeship under a master of house building, where they learn and will acquire their secondary Discourse.
    1. Depending on the individual the construction discourse can either be primary or secondary.
    2. Point- can be primary or secondary
  5. According to Gee, Dominant Discourses “bring with it the (potential) acquisition of social ‘goods’ (money, prestige, status, etc.)” (Gee 8). In construction, whether if is your primary or secondary, you can get social good from it. In the article by Pat Curry, she says that the goal is to “deliver a high quality, pristine home”(Curry 5) and when companies build houses such  as these they earn a high status among other builders. Also workers get social goods in the form of getting experience, learning new skills, and getting paid.
    1. Building houses is a dominant discourse because you earn social goods from it, no matter if it is your primary or secondary discourse.
    2. Point- dominant discourse
  6. Gee defines Discourses as “saying (writing)-doing-being-valuing-believing combinations” (Gee 6). The “saying (writing)” part is very important for all Discourses because the language used is what will separate the masters from the mushfakers. There are many terms in the construction Discourse that, without knowledge, you would not understand. In the Susan Bady article, she used words such as footings, house wrap, dried in, r-value, HVAC, and many others. There are also lots of words that are homographs, or a word that has different meaning, depending on what Discourse they are being used in. One example is “cure”, which most people think means restoring health, but in this case it actually is the time needed for a concrete foundation to harden before building can start (Bady 2). “Foundation” is another example becauses people could think it means the makeup product, when actually it is the concrete base of a house (Curry 4). Without having been in the Discourse, ordinary people will not know the lingo that goes along with building houses, and will be very confused.
    1. The saying part is the most important aspect because you need to know the language to be able to get into the discourse.
    2. Point- can’t mushfake your way in


  • Does my analysis of this particular Discourse have components that do not quite fit into a straightforward application of Gee’s ideas? What are they? (If so, perhaps you have something important to ADD to – or even CHALLENGE Gee’s sense of – the ways that Discourses work.)
    • Yes they challenge the idea of of primary and secondary. I introduce the idea of a hybrid of the two.
  • Are there reasons to consider the ways your Discourse works very similarly to other, perhaps related Discourses? Maybe your Discourse is a subset of a broader set of Discourses. (If so, perhaps your analysis may be able to tell us about this broader set of Discourses.)
    • It can relate to other physical labor discourses such as mechanics or landscaping. I do not find a need to consider these tho because there is not really a way to incorporate them and it won’t really add much to my point.
  • Our Discourse analyses are all limited by the source material from which we’ve drawn. Hopefully, you’ve chosen really good artifacts that help you reveal some key features of the Discourse. But there are probably some important LIMITATIONS that you can see. What are they? These are possibly areas for further inquiry should one pursue the project further.
    • Some limitations are my use of language and quotes from my artifacts. I need to go back and pull bigger pieces or just find new ones with better examples of language since the main point of my paper is the language.