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Convergence refers to the process through which an individual shifts speech patterns in interaction so that they more closely resemble the speech patterns of speech partners.
People can converge through many features of communication such as their use of language, their "pronunciation, pause and utterance lengths, vocal intensities, non verbal behaviors, and intimacy of self disclosures"(Giles and Smith, 1979, 46), but they do not necessarily have to converge simultaneously at all of these levels.
The communication accommodation theory has broadened this theory to include not only speech but also the "non-verbal and discursive dimensions of social interaction".
Under the influence of social psychology, especially social identity theory, communication accommodation theory are guided by mainly four assumptions.
The first assumption indicates that people bring their past experience to conversations.
"When French Canadian listeners attributed an English Canadian's convergence to French as due to his desire to break down cultural barriers, the shift was viewed favorably.
However, when this same behavior was attributed to pressures in the situation forcing the other to converge, positive feelings were not so strongly evoked." Intergroup distinctiveness The process of intergroup distinctiveness, as theorized by Tajfel argues, "...
The second assumption is concerned with how people perceive and evaluate a conversation.