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Towards a theory of interpersonal accommodation through language: some Canadian data1

  • Howard Giles (a1), Donald M. Taylor (a2) and Richard Bourhis (a2)


The study was designed to investigate the process of speech accommodation between bilinguals from two ethnolinguistic groups. It was hypothesized that the greater the amount of effort in accommodation that a bilingual speaker of one group was perceived to put into his message, the more favourably he would be perceived by listeners from another ethnic group, and also the more effort they in turn would put into accommodating back to him. Eighty bilingual English-Canadians were divided into four groups and individually tested. Ss heard on tape a French-Canadian describe a picture and they were required to sketch this while listening. Ss were made fully aware that their speaker had a choice of language for his description. The four groups heard the same male speaker describe the drawing but each in a different guise: (1) French, (2) Mix-mix, (3) Fluent English and (4) Nonfluent English. Ss were then requested to rate their speaker and his performance, and to record a description of another picture themselves for that same French-Canadian to draw later. From analyses of the ratings and the Ss' tapes, the hypotheses were confirmed and different types of accommodation noted. A theoretical framework for these results and other forms of interpersonal accommodation was suggested. (Bilingualism; social interaction; accommodation theory; Canadian French, Canadian English.)



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Towards a theory of interpersonal accommodation through language: some Canadian data1

  • Howard Giles (a1), Donald M. Taylor (a2) and Richard Bourhis (a2)


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