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CAT (COMMUNICATION ACCOMMODATION THEORY) DEFINITION: CAT aims to specify the strategies of convergence, divergence, and maintenance by examining how speakers modify their communication to reduce or increase the difference between speakers and their conversational partners. When a speaker has particular relational goals for an interaction, she will select communication strategies attending to or anticipating the recipient's own communication characteristics. This process is called COMMUNICATIVE ATTUNING THE INTERGENERATIONAL CONTEXT: 1. Overaccommodation. A miscommunicative process where at least one participant perceives a speaker to "go beyond" a communicative style necessary for attuning talk on a particular occasion. 2. Underaccommodation. A miscommunicative process where at least one participant perceives a speaker as communicating in a manner (style or quality of talk) that is underplayed regarding needs or wishes. 3. Young to Older Strategies. a. Overaccommodation due to physical or sensory handicaps. Rightly or wrongly perceive older person to be specifically handicapped, and adapt beyond optimal level b. Dependency-related overaccommodation. Overbearing, disciplinary, excessively directive talk to older person. Young use to control relationship c. Age-related divergence. Emphasize differences of younger group. Values, lifestyles used to mark age differences. d. Intergroup overaccommodation. Most pervasive--accommodate not to elderly as individuals but according to group norms. 4. Older to Young Strategies. a. Self-protecting underaccommodation. Appearing conversationally insular or egocentric. Not engaging in topics that threaten self concept. b. Age-self handicapping. Used to excuse not performing on future task. "I can't remember as well as I used to." c. Self-stereotyping. Take on characteristics of stereotypical elderly. Assume elderly group identity in intergroup contexts. d. Intergroup divergence. Aggressively emphasizing cross generational differences. I.e. commenting on youngers' speech style in a negative fashion. adapted from: Coupland, N., Coupland, J., & Giles, H. (1991). Language, society & the elderly. Oxford: Blackwell.



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