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Accommodation theory

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  • 1. Accommodation Theory
  • 2. Accommodation Theory
    • Accommodation theory was developed by Howard Giles and others in the 1970s. It suggests that we adjust our speech to ‘accommodate’ the person we are addressing. This may result in convergence or divergence.
    • Convergence – this is more common and occurs when we move our speech closer to that of the other person.
    • Divergence – when people’s speech styles move further apart.
  • 3. Accommodation Theory
    • Convergence decreases the social distance between people.
    • Someone with an RP accent ‘toning down’ their accent to speak to someone with a ‘lower class’ accent is called downward convergence .
    • Someone with a ‘working class’ accent trying to eliminate some of the stronger regional features of their speech for a job interview with an RP speaker is called upward convergence .
  • 4. Accommodation Theory
    • If both participants in a conversation converge towards the other, this is called mutual convergence .
    • Divergence has the effect of emphasising the differences between people. Two supporters of rival football teams might exaggerate their respective regional accents in an argument, if unconsciously.