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Speech Accommodation Theory and Audience Design

Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (2006) pp. 648-651 Published by Elsevier Ltd

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Accommodation theory holds that speakers adjust their language style in relation to their interlocutors. The basic forms of accommodation are convergence or divergence, where speakers shift style to become either more or less like that of their addressees. The theory has expanded to encompass a range of more complex relations of situational style shift. Sociolinguists have adopted accommodation theory as an explanation of style, and also developed their own models, e.g., Bell's Audience Design framework. This holds that style is largely interactive and social, with speakers designing their style in response to their audience. Speakers may also use language to take the initiative in shaping the nature of a social situation through 'referee design.'. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Accommodation theory
  • Addressees
  • Approval
  • Audience design
  • Convergence
  • Divergence
  • Language style
  • Psychological accommodation
  • Referee design
  • Responsive and initiative style
  • Subjective and objective accommodation

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  • A. Bell

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