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Accommodation Theory

Howard Giles in the 1970's.

Suggest we adjust our speech to accommodate others (resulting in convergence or divergence)

Convergence ­ decreases social distance. E.g a RP speaker talking to employees may tone
down his accent, this is called downward convergence. Someone going for a job may tone

Page 2

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Physiologists argue we do this because we respect them in the hope that they respect us back.

Face work maintains the status of participants. People in a lower status position are more
attentive to people with a higher status.


Using appropriate forms of address

Speaking to others in appropriate…

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Gender and Conversation

Who talks more?

Fisherman (1990) found in mixed sexed conversation men talk more. Men is twice the amount.

Conversational Support

Women are more supportative than men. Women are co-operative and men are compeitiive.

Women in conversation:

Ask more questions (interest and encourage participants)
Give more supportive feedback…

Page 4

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Explanation of differences ­ Dominance and Differance.

Domincance ­ Women occupy less powerful position in society than men.

Difference ­ When children boys games are more on competition and confrontation whereas
girls games are about co-operation such as playing with a baby doll.


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