The Discourse We Use



That was the key term in this reading. In “The Discourse on Language” by Michael Foucault, the author used a term ‘discourse,’ many times throughout the chapter. 

To be honest, this reading was difficult to understand but I think I got the basic of it, and I thought the author went very deep with the discourse on language. He thought of things I would never think of; therefore, it was interesting to see his point of view.

In the beginning, this sentence struck me: “In every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organized and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is to avert its powers and its dangers, to cope with chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome materiality.”
It made my eyes open because discourse is connected to everything and we do not not even notice it when we speak with other people. Because it is related to things we do, it is dangerous. I also think that this is his thesis.


In addition, Foucault talked about how we want to know everything about the authors as much as possible, for example, their personal lives. Then he stated, “the author is he who implants, into the troublesome language of fiction, its unities, its coherence, its links with reality.” I think this is because we want to really understand the meaning of their texts. This implies how desperate we are to find out information and how discourse is very important.

Foucault then said, “discourse is really only an activity, of writing in the first case, of reading in the second and exchange in the third. this exchange, this writing, this reading never involve anything but signs.” What I took in from this phrase was that we communicate by giving signs and that discourse is actually a task. I liked that he thought of this; I thought it was very interesting that he thought of this.

People-talking-gearsOverall, after reading this chapter, I thought that speaking with other people whether it is in text or not, has actually a deep meaning. However, we think a language is complex, and it is, but not as much if you look at it from the author’s perspective. We speak and communicate everyday but it just happens naturally. With discourse, the world is revolving and our lives are happening. Discourse is very important and the way we use it will effect how we end up. We are giving signs to one another constantly and will never stop doing that.

Discourse. What I thought of discourse in the beginning had a whole different meaning after reading this chapter.

In Class Assignment:


In “Google boss warns of ‘forgotten century’ with emails and photos at risk,” by The Guardian, Vint Cerf said “Piles of digitised material – from blogs, tweets, pictures and videos, to official documents such as court rulings and emails – may be lost forever because the programs needed to view them will become defunct.” He talked about how in the future, only what we have physically will remain with us and that emails and photos that we have on the computer will disappear. He made a good point that “old computer files become useless junk.”

In “The digital black hole: will it delete your memories?” by The Guardian, Vint Cerf again stated, “all digitally stored information could be wiped out by tech upgrades, putting the sum total of human knowledge under threat.” In our century, we put everything on the computer to “save” our memories and important things. However, if I relate to Foucault’s reading, if there is no physical object, then how would the third party know that something really happened? We need proof to tell the truth. Just because it is on a digital system doesn’t mean it is helping us.

In “A Warehouse Fire of Digital Memories” by The Atlantic, it posted what Vint Cerf have said about our time will be forgotten if we keep up with the digital system: “Today’s electronic personal records, photos, and even tweets will all be lost to defunct software, resulting in a “forgotten century.” ” I agree with him. What if your computer crashes? Then you lost all the important things you had on there. Advanced technology is always a good thing.

Related Articles:
Logic: What’s Missing from Public Discourse
Discourse Analysis -What Speakers Do in Conversation

Discussion Questions:
-Is discourse the same in other countries/languages or different?
-Even though the author said that discourse is at once controlled, is there a way we can control it ourselves?


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