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Howard Giles

 "When people interact they adjust their speech, their

vocal patterns and their gestures, to accommodate to


 Turner & West 2010.

In other words…

 It attempts to explore the various reasons why individuals

emphasize or minimize the social differences between

themselves and their interlocutors through verbal

and nonverbal communication.

CAT takes into consideration…

 The relationship between language, context, and identity.

 It focuses on the intergroup and interpersonal factors that

lead to accommodation, as well as the ways that power,

macro and micro-context concerns affect communication

Communication Accommodation
 Elaborates the human tendency to adjust their behavior while
interacting. The reason behind this behavior is explained as to
control the social differences between the interactants.

 *Interactant – The word refers the close relations between each

other with their communication.
 People accommodate their communication activities to

get approval and to set a positive image in front of the


 The environment in which they are interacting also affects

the communication behavior.

There are two types of accommodation process
explained in this theory:



 Convergence– convergence is a process where people

tend to adapt the other person’s communication

characteristics to reduce the social differences.


 People can converge through many features of

communication such as their use of language, their

"pronunciation, pause and utterance lengths, vocal

intensities, non verbal behaviors, and intimacy of self


 (Giles and Smith, 1979, 46)


 People use convergence based on their perceptions of

others, as well as what they are able to infer about them

and their backgrounds.

As Turner and West note,
"When communicators are attracted to others they will

converge in their conversations.“

 Attraction (likability, charisma, credibility), also triggers

convergence. when people have similar beliefs,

personality and behaviors they tend to be more attracted

towards each other.

 The desire to make social interaction flow subsequently
results in convergence.

 Thus when an individual shifts his speech and non-verbal behaviors

in order to assimilate to the other it can result in a more favorable

appraisal of him, that is: when convergence is perceived positively it

is likely to enhance both the conversation and the attraction

between the listener and the speaker.

 Tt could be said that convergence reflects "an

individual's desire for social approval“

 Other factors that determine whether and to what extent

individuals converge in interaction are their relational

history, social norms and power variables.

 Because individuals are more likely to converge to the

individual with the higher status it is likely that the speech

in a conversation will reflect the speech of the individual

with the higher status.


 Divergence-the process contradicts the method of

adaptation and in this context the individual emphasise is

on the social difference and nonverbal differences

between the interactants.

Giles & Ogay 2007
 "Given that communication features are often core

dimensions of what it is to be a member of a group,

divergence can be regarded as a very important tactic of

displaying a valued distinctiveness from the other.“

 This helps to sustain a positive image of one's in-group and

hence to strengthen one's social identity.

 Divergence can thus be a way for members of different
groups to maintain their cultural identity, a mean to
contrast self images when the other person is considered
a member of an undesirable group, and a way to
indicate power or status differences, as when one
individual wishes to render another one less powerful.
 People can both converge at some levels and diverge

through others at the same time

 Although people usually have good intentions when they
attempt to use convergence in conversation, some
interlocutors can perceive convergence as patronizing
and demeaning and hence just as it can enhance
conversation it can also detract from the processes of
Overaccommodation can exist in
three forms:
 Sensory overaccommodation,

 Dependency overaccommodation

 Intergroup overaccommodation.
Sensory overaccommodation

 When an individual thinks that he is being

accommodative to someone's linguistic or physical

disability but overdoes it, so that the other person

perceives her behavior as patronizing.

Dependency overaccommodation

 “When the speaker places the listener in a lower-status

role so that the listener is made to appear dependent on

the speaker and she understands that the speaker is the

primary speaker in the conversation in order to

communicate a higher status."

Intergroup overaccommodation
 Involves manipulating people based on a general

stereotype and not as individuals with an individual


 The socially categorized stereotypes that people hold of

others result in these cognitively linked forms of over-