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Convergence and Divergence in Telephone Conversations: A Case of Persian

Authors: Vahid Parvaresh, Masoud Saeedi, Anna Mirzaiyan, Mahmoud Hashemian


People usually have a telephone voice, which means they adjust their speech to fit particular situations and to blend in with other interlocutors. The question is: Do we speak differently to different people? This possibility has been suggested by social psychologists within Accommodation Theory [1]. Converging toward the speech of another person can be regarded as a polite speech strategy while choosing a language not used by the other interlocutor can be considered as the clearest example of speech divergence [2]. The present study sets out to investigate such processes in the course of everyday telephone conversations. Using Joos-s [3] model of formality in spoken English, the researchers try to explore convergence to or divergence from the addressee. The results propound the actuality that lexical choice, and subsequently, patterns of style vary intriguingly in concordance with the person being addressed.

Keywords: Convergence, divergence, lexical formality, speechaccommodation

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