Speech Accommodation Theory: Communication Accommodation Theory

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THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Communication Accommodation Theory Communication accommodation theory or CAT mainly suggests that communication partners with different cultural backgrounds alter their linguistic approach to cope with one another (Jackson, 2014). CAT emerged from speech accommodation theory. The theory concerns itself with understanding the linguistic strategies individuals use within communicative acts to facilitate convergence or divergence (Giles, Coupland, & Coupland, 1991). Notably, CAT focuses specifically on how communicators use similar and dissimilar language and language cues (e.g., volume) to signal closeness to or distance from the other (Harwood, 2007). This theory was developed by Howard Giles and his associates to describe and explain the reasons why individuals adjust their speech communication practices depending on their speech partner. This framework may be used to explore the reasons for, and consequences arising from, speakers converging toward and diversing away from each other. CONVERGENCE Convergence is a way for speakers to reduce social distance (Jackson, 2014) and as per Giles, Coupland, & Coupland (1991), it is an approach to whereby individuals adapt to each other’s communicative manners (as cited in West, 2010). Convergent moves are positively acknowledged by the receiver and in this effect, there will be a more positive feeling towards the entire culture or group to which the speaker belongs (Gallois & Callan, 1997). West (2010) stated

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