Accommodation theory

Nikolas Coupland
Table of contents

The term ‘accommodation theory’ identifies a research program that has developed since the early 1970s, very largely stimulated by the research of Howard Giles and his colleagues. Accommodation theory accounts for diverse contextual processes that impinge on the selection of sociolinguistic codes, styles and strategies and their interactional consequences. In its earliest forms, accommodation theory was a strictly socio-psychological model of speech-style modification, best represented in Giles & Powesland’s (1975) account. Currently, accommodation theory has the status of a truly interdisciplinary model of relational processes in communicative interaction. In the view of some commentators (e.g. Bradac, Hopper & Wiemann 1989), accommodation theory is the predominant model at the interface of sociolinguistics, communication and social psychology. Studies across the disciplines, from various methodological and ideological perspectives, appear regularly.

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