What contributes to successful communication? - Accommodating towards your audience

17 important questions on What contributes to successful communication? - Accommodating towards your audience

What is the Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT)?

The psychological model for speakers to adjust and shift their speech styles either consciously or unconsciously according to the context.

Which three types of adjustment are there?

  1. convergence
  2. divergence
  3. maintenance

Which three goals are communication accommodative behaviours believed to be motivated by?

  1. seeking approval
  2. maintaining group identity
  3. attaining communicative efficiency
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What do speakers need to do in order for accommodation to be successful?

Speakers need to modify their way of speaking on the basis of their assessment of addressees' linguistic ability.

What is accommodative talk?

Not necessarily talk wherein participants share any obvious speech characteristic, rather, it is talk wherein actors achieve a high degree of fit between their typically different, but potentially attunable, behaviours.

Which four types of communicative accommodation behaviours which have a clear focus on addressees can be differentiated?

  1. approximation strategies
  2. interpretability strategies
  3. discourse management strategies
  4. interpersonal control strategies

What are approximation strategies?

Converging towards the addressee's productive performance such as accent, speech rate, etc.

What are interpretability strategies?

Modification of the complexity of communication and improvement of clarity through attending to the addressee's receptive competence.

What are discourse management strategies?

Being facilitative in turn-taking and topic-selection and attentive to the addressee's face wants and conversational needs.

What are interpersonal control strategies?

Allowing the addressee's discretion in the communicative roles to be adopted in face-to-face interaction.

What does a speaker need to take into account in the process of accommodating?

Not only the conversation partner's productive performance, but also the latter's receptive competence and interpersonal needs.

Which four types of audience are there?

  1. addressee
  2. auditor
  3. overhearer
  4. eavesdropper

Which options do speakers have in getting their message across and preventing misunderstanding?

  • encouraging participation
  • raising predictability
  • raising transparency
  • lexicalisation of what is encoded morphologically
  • repetition

How can speakers encourage participation?

  • encouraging self-initiated topics
  • offering turns
  • open questions
  • allowing for pauses
  • taking up and restructuring fragments or incomplete contributions

How can speakers raise predictability?

  • meta-discourse comments and signposting
  • clear pauses and placing topic ahead of the rest of an utterance

How can speakers raise transparency?

  1. raising accessibility
  • at perceptual level: short utterances, highlighting with volume, articulation and position in the utterance, facilitating segmentation with pauses, slower rate of delivery
  • at level of lexical meaning: high frequency vocabulary, using another language when relevant
  • at level of conceptual meaning: linking complex topics to the 'here and now', absolute instead of relational reference to time

  1. raising explicitness
  • full forms instead of ellipsis, pro-forms, reduced phonetic forms

When does over-accommodation take place?

When speakers underestimate their recipients' receptive competence and oversimplify their speech register.

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