Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What is Discussion text?

A discussion text is a kind of text to present at least two points of view about an issue. The function is to explore various perspectives before coming to an informed decision. Besides, to present information and opinions about more than one side of an issue (‘for’ points and ‘against’ points)

The structure usually consists of three components. They are:

1. Issue, an opening statement presenting the issue
2. Arguments for (pro) and arguments against (contra) or statement of different point of view about an issue (point and elaboration), and
3. Conclusion or recommendation

a discussion text focuses on generic human and generic non-human participants.

Language features:
1. The use of general nouns
e.g. abortion, formalin, alcohol, smoking, cloning etc
2. The use of relating verbs
e.g. is, am, are etc
3. The use of thinking verbs
e.g. think, feel, hope, believe etc
4. The use of additive connectives
e.g. in addition, furthermore, besides etc.
5. The use of contrastive connectives
e.g. although, even if, nevertheless etc
6. The use of causal connectives
e.g. because, because of, due to etc
7. The use of modalities
e.g. must, perhaps, should etc
8. The use of adverb of manner
e.g. hopefully, deliberately etc

Now read this example of discussion text!

The Advantages and the Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy

Issue:
Nuclear energy is commonly offered as an alternative to overcome the crisis of energy. The debate of whether the use of nuclear energy is an appropriate choice has not come to an end. Some people agree with the utilization of it because of its benefits. Some others, however, disagree because of its risks to the environment.

Argument ‘pro’:
Those who agree with the operation of nuclear reactors usually argue that nuclear energy is the only feasible choice to answer the ever-increasing energy needs. In their opinion, the other sources of energy: oil, coal, and liquid natural gas are not renewable and safe, while nuclear energy can be sustainable when produced in a safe way.

Argument "contra":
However, people who disagree with the use of nuclear energy point out that the waste of nuclear products can completely destroy the environment and human lives. A meltdown in a reactor, for example, usually results in the contamination of the surrounding soil and water. Take for example, the blow up of the nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in Russia twenty years ago. The serious contamination imperiled people and the environment severely.

conclusion:
It is obvious that nuclear energy should be avoided because it really endangers the environment but what about a less polluted energy instead of nuclear energy? Is there any alternative energy to overcome the crisis of energy?



To make you clear about discussion text, read the Short Description about Discussion Text!

Social Function:
To present (at least) two points of view about an issue.

Generic structure:
1. issue
consists of statement and preview
2. arguments for (pro) and against (contra) or statements of different point of view
consists of point and elaboration
3. conclusion or recommendation

significant language features:
· focus on generic human and non human participants
· use of material processes (e.g has produced, have developed, to feed, etc), relational processes (e.g. could have, cause, are), and mental processes (e.g . feel, think, etc).
· use comparative, contrastive and consequential conjunction

Resources:
Sudarwati and Eudia Grace.2007. Look Ahead: An English Course for Senior High School Students Year XI, Science and Social Study Program. Jakarta: Erlangga




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