Communication Accommodation Theory

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Communication Accommodation Theory

Communication between two people from different groups is often accommodated in the way of speaking to gain approval. Howard Giles first introduced this theory in 1973 and it has been held true since (Griffin, 2012, p.394). His theory specifically focuses on the nonverbal adjustments of rate of speech, pauses, and accent. Giles and other communication scholars believe that communication accommodation is used to seek appreciation of those from diverse cultures or groups. The process of interweaving the speaker’s style to the label they have been given is the Communication Accommodation Theory. Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) states that people alter their communication to others for various reasons. One reason is to seek approval from the listener. Another is to maintain a positive social identity and have efficient communication. According to Howard Giles, people accommodate their speech and behavior more often around people who have higher attraction or hold similar beliefs and attitudes to the speaker. He suggests that people use perception and evaluation in conversations, meaning they observe and interpret messages to determine their actions or attitudes in a conversation (Griffin, 2012, p.394). For example, people who have a lower social status are more likely to accommodate and be guided by high social status individuals. Giles also believes that norms and appropriateness to conform human behavior in communication in order for the speaker to reach expectations of the conversation (Griffin, 2012, p.394). Communication Accommodation Theory proposes several ways people adapt during conversations: convergence, divergence and over-accommodation. Howard Giles suggests in this theory there are more reasons we accommodate or under accommodate to others in conversation. One method is convergence is a strategy used to adapt another’s behaviors to become similar to that person (Griffin, 2012, p. 395)....
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