Theory Theory of Communication Accommodation Keenness State university Melinda Sykes Communication Accommodation Theory 2 Introduction Verbal behavior is an active lifestyle that individuals use to convey messages. This are of communication involves a multitude of approaches, both In a behavioral sense but also a social psychological approach. Our behavior alters our environment with or without our permission. Therefore, speech is an integral part of the communication accommodation theory because pitch. Illume. Tone and many others s said to cause a shift in ones behavior. In 1987, Giles & Wingman explained communication accommodation as a theory that examines underlying motivations and consequences of shifts In verbal behavior. This theory attempts to explain why people accommodate or adjust to another’s speech and the need to gain approval or maintain social identity with whom they are speaking with. The theory assumptions are that perceptions of another’s speech help Individuals to evaluate and behave towards that person.
The purpose of this paper Is to discuss the development of the theory by reviewing research tested and or extending the theory. More Importantly, the paper will develop an overall evaluation of the theory strength’s, weakness and heuristic potential. Both speech convergence and divergence, they magnify the movement toward or away from the speech style of the other. And determine that it is ultimately motivated by an assumption about the other’s speech (Giles, Mullah, Abroad, & Johnson, 1987).
These strategies give great reference and understanding of the accommodation principle in communication. Communication Accommodation Theory 3 Convergence and divergence are strategies that give light on the reasons why individuals adapt to one another’s speech rate. Convergence indicates that “individuals adapt to each other by slowing down or speeding up speech rate, lengthening or shortening pauses and utterances, and using certain forms of politeness, tag questions and verbal intensifiers in their speech” (Infants, Rancher, & woman, 2003).
Divergence refers to the way speakers accentuate vocal and linguistic differences to underscore social differences between speakers (Infants, Rancher, & Woman, 2003). Though the strategies differ linguistically they are the same in concept. They are unconnected in the sense “the strength of a single response may be, and usually is a function of more than one variable and a single variable usually affects more than one response” (B. F. Skinner, 1957). Street and Giles assumed that divergence is generally used when others are members of undesirable groups or hold distasteful attitudes (1982). Ultimately, we converge with others in interaction if they are powerful and we want to be like them. We diverge from others in interaction if it is important for us to highlight a separate and distinct identity’ (Miller, 2005). Over time, researchers have examined the area of gender and communication. The research has lead to an understanding that individuals classify according to gender orientation rather than biological sex (Virginia Wheelers, 1984). The research uncovered that feminine and undifferentiated individuals were more accommodating than masculine.
The research runs along the same parallel that “feminine language” is viewed as more considerate cooperative, helpful and submissive (Stewart, Stewart, Cooper, & Friendly, 1996). This issue is heuristic in the sense is has brought about the research of sound play. Communication Accommodation Theory 4 Bambini B. Speechifies, author and scientist researched sound play and described it as vocal/verbal activity of a single speaker, more importantly used between young children and mothers (Ochs & Sheffield, 1983).
In these exchanges, children pay attention to the phonological shape of one another’s utterances and repeat or modify slightly a sequence of sounds Just produced. The study has been reported in a number of different cultures. Speech convergence is expressed during sound play. The approval of the mother or the child’s adjustment gains satisfaction for one another. These results suggest that similarity in speech and tone influence perceptions of a relationship and gains overall approval. The study observed the use of sound play, convergence and divergence in the workplace as well.
The method was simple observation through the use of office cameras and role play. The purpose was to observe the amount of times the three strategies mentioned above were used and by what gender. The results of the study results of women showing convergence almost in all cases that presented themselves. Their speech in terms of pitch, volume and tone were all demonstrations that ran insistent with the implied hypotheses. The women showed signs of being more considerate, understanding and submissive.
Their tone and volume were reported to be lower and seemed more empathetic to whom they were speaking with. While the men seemed very consistent with their regular speaking tones in the midst of adversity or casual conversation. More actions of divergence were shown by the male participants. Communication Accommodation Theory 5 Instances were numerous on the part of correcting others verbal expressions and used more extensive Jargon in the workplace. Research has found that stereotypes continue to show the relevance and authenticity of the convergence and divergence strategies.
For example, blind persons report individuals who communicate with them tend to shout or exaggerate behaviors unrelated to their ability to see. Nurses use “baby talk” to the institutionalized elderly, regardless of the individual’s capabilities (Infants, Rancher, & Woman, 2003). Another example would be the tendency of individuals to yell or express exaggerated movements to persons who cannot hear. Research has been evaluated with gender playing a role in speech convergence and divergence. Society as given norms that inhibit the expectancy of speech from women and men.
Even women’s speech exhibits marked differences compared to the speech of men, provided that women use more polite expressions and seem to adopt standard forms, while the latter tend to exercise their “right” to do as they see fit (Miller, 2005). Society norms have provided the benefit of men using divergence and women more commonly using convergence to gain approval for satisfaction. As Robin Alaska once said, “women collude in their own subordination by the way they speak. ” Speech divergence in the use of metaphors in literature, in that the message used in his kind of form is accessible only to those who are conversant with the code.
In this way, members of certain groups or communities can hold up walls. On one hand, exclude the ones who cannot penetrate the mind of the speaker or the writer, but on the other, help cultivate intimacy and a sense of community. Communication Accommodation Theory 6 Communication accommodation theory is a very practical and easy to understand concept. For the reason, we all have experienced the convergence and divergence experience. Either, we were the initiator or the responder. The theory illustrates its opportunity to be tested and observed to gain further extensive research.
With test having been conducted and both positive and negative feedback reported, both are good for a theory. It shows legitimacy that the theory is Just that but it also shows some relevance and true findings for the theory. This being said it makes the theory heuristic. Further research, observations, testing and extensions can be produced from this theory. In addition, the theory meets the scientific standards of explanation of the result, “twin objectives of scientific knowledge” (Griffin, 1991, p. 34). It maintains a simplistic concept and is easy to understand.
Having a theory that is testable and leaves room for growth and further expansion puts it in the category of credible, substantial theories. A weakness in the communication accommodation theory is that it leaves many questions unanswered. Questions such as the long term changes in behavior and where to draw the line of empathy and the theory are where the theory can be unclear (Infants, Rancher & Hammock, 2005). In order for individuals to understand the difference between the accommodation theory and empathy, they would have to eave the same definition and perception of what empathy is.
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