Chapter 3.

Accommodation Strategies in Communication

Communication (at the impersonal groups and intergroup level) is more than discrete transmission or exchange of information between the sender and the receiver. The communication process is embedded into the socio-cultural matrix and it is governed by expectancy norms and accommodation strategies-converge theory or speech accommodation theory (Giles and Coupland). Linguistic accommodation should not be reduced to external mimicry of local forms of communication; it implies taking an existentialist stance in harmony with the other participants in the communication process. Speech accommodation theory underprins four other hypotheses: - Similarity attraction theory: in psychological terms, people choose convergent or divergent communication strategies. As a rule participants strive for social approval and mutual intelligibility and solidarity is to be equated to the µ¶intimacy of self-disclosure¶¶ (McAllister and Keisle, 1975); for instance, we do not correct our interlocutors¶ pronunciation errors due to positive politeness strategies, or we use reciprocal phatic language; - Social exchange theory: speakers and listeners use a common core of interpretive strategies that allow the speaker to encode his/her intention and the hearer to accurately calculate the speaker¶s intention; for example, the use of BBC English lends the speakers a higher status rather than the use of another linguistic variant (regional accent). - Causal attribution theory: when people engage in communication, they evaluate the others on account of the possible driving forces underlying their actions. People assign causes systematically, attempting to generalizations about behavior, motivations and consequences. For instance, speech converge may not be positively rated if there is negative attribution of the speaker¶s intentions (pressure to select the variant). - Intergroup distinctiveness theory: on the face of it, when different groups interact, they tend to compare their abilities, material possessions, achievements, etc. promoting the group positive image and distinctiveness. Such in-group builds self-esteem through a sense of belonging. In order to emphasize in-group membership, intergroup speech divergence occurs. Nevertheless, overemphasizing divergence (for example, shift of registers in repeating the interlocutor¶s utterance) or convergence (imitating the pronunciation of the interlocutor¶s

speaking in a lisp, accent, rate, loudness, lexical and syntactical preferences etc) may give rise to dissaccommodation. Adaptation is achieved via enculturation, acculturation and assimilation .Enculturation means socialization of the home culture prior to the individual¶s prolonged contact with the last culture .Interacting with a new culture engenders resocialization or acculturation work by detecting similarities and dissimilarities between the two cultures and beginning to understand and acquire the other culture .Acculturation is almost paralleled by enculturation or uprooting from the home culture .The final stage is represented by assimilation ,defined as the highest degree of acculturation and of enculturation .Nevertheless ,the process does not run smooth because there is a continuous interplay between acculturation and enculturation and because people are likely to undergo cultural identity renegotiation and reconstruction at different paces and with different intensities. Adaptation involves expansion of linguistic repertoires and sociocultural resources alongside critical awareness development in order to achieve legitimating in the new cultural environment. Identity has a dynamic structure, being governed by two processes: accommodation -assimilation and evaluation. Accommodation means adjustment of the structure already in place so as to allow for new elements insertion .Assimilation is the absorption of new components .The process of accommodation-assimilation can be defined as a µ¶memory system, subject to bias in retention and recall¶¶(Castano,2004).Evaluation presupposes meaning and value allocation µ¶to identity contents, new and old¶¶ .The two processes are interdependent going toward the achievement of µ¶desirable end states for the structure of identity¶¶. The Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT) was developed by Howard Giles, professor of communication, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. CAT explains some of the cognitive reasons for code-switching and other changes in speech as individuals seek to emphasize or minimize the social differences between themselves and their interlocutors. Giles posits that when speakers seek approval in a social situation they are likely to converge their speech to that of their interlocutor. This can include, but is not limited to the language of choice, accent , dialect and paralinguistic features used in the interaction. In contrast to convergence, speakers may also engage in divergent speech. In divergent speech, individuals emphasize the social distance between themselves and their interlocutors by using linguistic features characteristic of their own group. The theory There are four components in CAT: the sociohistorical context, the communicators¶ accommodative orientation, the immediate situation and evaluation and future intentions. These components are essential to the theory and affect the course and outcome of intercultural conversations.

Sociohistorical context The Sociohistorical context represents the general basis for any intercultural communication. Thereby, the relations between the two interacting groups influence the communicators¶ behavior. Such influencing factors are for example political or historical relations between nations or different religious or ideological views between the two groups participating in the conversation. Accommodative orientation There are three factors that are crucial to accommodative orientations: (1) ³intrapersonal factors´ (e.g. personality of the speakers), (2) ³intergroup factors´ (e.g. communicators¶ feelings toward out groups), and (3) ³initial orientations´ (e.g. perceived potential for conflict). Immediate situation The immediate situation, i.e. the actual communication, is shaped by five aspects which are interrelated: (1) ³sociopsychological states´, (2) ³goals and addressee focus´ (e.g. motivations and goals for the encounter), (3) ³sociolinguistic strategies´ (e.g. convergence or divergence), (4) ³behavior and tactics´ (e.g. topic, accent) and (5) ³labeling and attributions´. Evaluation and future intentions This aspect deals with how communicators perceive their conversational partners¶ behavior and its effects on future encounters between the two groups. Positively rated conversations will most likely lead to further communication between the interlocutors and other members of their respective groups.

Convergence Convergence describes "the processes whereby individuals shift their speech styles to become more like that of those with whom they are interacting.´ In other words, convergence describes how an individual shifts his speech patterns in various interactions so that they more closely resemble the speech patterns of his interlocutor(s). Giles states " is probably safe to assume that these shifts resulted in a favorable appraisal of the speaker that is, they have created an impression that the speaker is trying to accommodate to his or her listener(s)". "For example, we are aware how often our speech becomes grammatically less complex with our children...´. These language shifts include features such as phonetic changes (i.e. changing pitch and prolonging pauses).

Divergence Divergence is a linguistic strategy whereby a member of a speech community accentuates the linguistic differences between his in-group and the respective out-group of his interlocutor in order to preserve his positive in-group identity, rather than accentuating in-group similarities as in convergence. The speaker from the in-group will emphasize in-group speech characteristics in order to index his in-group status to his interlocutor(s). "Given that speech style is, for many people, an important subjective and objective clue to social group can be argued that in situations when group membership is a salient issue, speech divergence may be an important strategy for making oneself psychologically and favorably distinct from out-group members´ . Foundations of the Communication Accommodation Theory Giles based The Communication Accommodation Theory on four socio-psychological theories which help to explain why speakers seek to converge or diverge their language, dialect, accent and behavior to that of their interlocutor. These theories are similarity-attraction, social exchange, causal distribution and intergroup distinctiveness. Similarity-Attraction The basic idea behind similarity-attraction theory is quite simply, ³the more similar our attitudes and beliefs are to others, the more likely it is we will be attracted to them". Speech convergence includes reducing the linguistic differences between oneself and one¶s interlocutor in terms of accent, dialect, paralinguistic features, or the language of choice. Convergence is a tool among many that individuals use as a means ³to become more similar to another´. By increasing similarity in communication between two people, it is likely that understanding and attraction between them will also increase. Convergence of this sort may be due to the speaker¶s wishes for social approval from his or her interlocutor. This has led to ³the idea that the greater one¶s need for social approval, the greater will be one¶s tendency to converge´. ³Natal (1975) has found that speakers with high needs for approval converge more to another¶s vocal intensity and pause length than those with low needs for approval´. Example In a 1984 study conducted by Purcell, he found that "Hawaiian children's convergent shifts in prosodic and lexico-grammatical features depended on the likeability of the particular peers present when talking in small groups".

Social Exchange Process The similarity-attraction theory describes the positive aspects of convergence whereas the social exchange process theory addresses the possible drawbacks of convergence. The negative aspects of converge could involve ³a loss of perceived integrity and personal (and sometimes group) identity´. The social exchange processes ³states that prior to acting, we attempt to assess the rewards and costs of alternate courses of action´. Therefore, when deciding what to say and how to say it, individuals most often choose the option which will yield a positive outcome rather than a negative one. ³Engaging in convergent speech acts should then incur more potential rewards for the speaker than costs´.

Example A man going for a job interview might decide to speak with a more prestigious accent in order to be better perceived by the interviewer, thereby practicing upward convergence. On the other hand, the owner of a small firm might shift to a less prestigious accent while communicating to his laborers in order to reduce the feelings of difference in status between them, thus practicing downward convergence. Causal Attribution Process The causal attribution theory ³Suggests that we interpret other people¶s behavior, and evaluate the persons themselves, in terms of the motivations and intentions that we attribute as the cause of their behavior´. In other words, we judge the convergence of our interlocutor's speech to our own based on our understanding of their motives for converging. Example ³When 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 was not so strongly evoked´.

Process of Intergroup Distinctiveness The process of Intergroup Distinctiveness, as theorized by Farfel theorizes ³that when members of different groups are in contact, they compare themselves on dimensions which are important to them, such as personal attributes, abilities, and material possessions and so forth. He suggests that these µintergroup social comparisons¶ will lead individuals to search for and even create dimensions on which they can make themselves positively distinct from the out group´. Because

speech style and language is an important factor in defining social groups, divergence in the speech style or language one uses is often employed in order to maintain intergroup distinctiveness and differentiate from the out-group when such issues as identity and group membership is threatened . Example In a study by Giles and Bourhis conducted in Wales, Welshmen with strong ties to their nation and their language who were learning Welsh were asked questions about methods of second language acquisition. In this study the questions were asked by an English speaker with an RP sounding accent ³who at one point arrogantly challenged their reasons for what he called µa dying language which had a dismal future¶¶. In response to this question, which greatly threatened their identity and intergroup distinctiveness, the informants diverged considerably by strengthening their Welsh accents and using Welsh words. Some informant explanations for accommodation When her informants were asked why they had switched to the ³Sharqis´ variety, they all agreed it ³is psychologically motivated, allowing them to get closer to their interlocutors. M1 adds that this allows him to convey friendliness to his interlocutors, to reduce differences and avoid rejection´. Informant W2 ³Found that using TA [Tunisian Arabic] is an obstacle to getting closer to people. She felt excluded especially at the beginning since Sharqis seemed to avoid her because they believed she would be difficult to understand´.W2 also ³Claims that the level of readiness of Sharqis to understand her determines whether she uses TA with them or not. She wants to avoid ridicule´. Giles has studied the interaction of young and elderly persons in business settings using Communication Accommodation as a theoretical framework. Findings demonstrated that elderly persons tend to be less accommodating than their younger counterparts. While several other factors came into play, convergence, and divergence portions of this theory were used in interpreting and explain this phenomenon (McCann, & Giles 2006). Among this and other studies, Giles has also looked at the actions and attitudes in the public's interaction with police officers, using Accommodation Theory. Relational and identity aspects of this theory help to demonstrate interaction patterns that exist between the public and the police in the various situations that these interactions take place (Giles, et al., 2005). This study looked at both the accommodation patterns of the officers and the public with whom they were dealing.

Language is ambiguous. This means that we can never be certain what the other person meanswhether in speaking or writing. To put it another way, language can never fully express our meanings. Of course it is not surprising that research should confirm what philosophers in both the east and the west have told us for millennia. But what does this mean for intercultural professional communication? In the first place it should be clear that communication works better the more the participants share assumptions and knowledge about the world. Where two people have very similar histories, backgrounds, and experiences, their communication works fairly easily because the inferences each makes about what the other means will be based on common experience and knowledge. Two people from the same village and the same family are likely to make fewer mistakes in drawing inferences about what the other means than two people from different cities on different sides of the earth. The ambiguous nature of language is one major source of difficulties in interdiscourse communication. Where any two people differ in group membership because they are of different genders, different ages, different ethnic or cultural groups, different educations, different parts of the same country or even city, different income or occupational groups, or with very different personal histories, each will find it more difficult to draw inferences about what the other person means. In the contemporary world of international and intercultural professional communication, the differences between people are considerable. People are in daily contact with members of cultures and other groups from all around the world. Successful communication is based on sharing as much as possible the assumptions we make about what others mean. When we are communicating with people who are very different from us, it is very difficult to know how to draw inferences about what they mean, and so it is impossible to depend on shared knowledge and background for confidence in our interpretations. A large number of quantitative studies which relate attitudinal motivational factors to various kinds of academic achievement have been conducted, including many of second-language proficiency. There are also a large number of studies on stereotypic attitudes which are held by one language group toward speakers of other languages or other language varieties. One common elicitation technique used is the ³matched-guise´ procedure, in which subjects listen to recorded samples of speech which are purported to be from different speakers. To determine attitudes toward speakers of different languages, bilingual speakers have actually been used, speaking once in one language and once in the other. Subjects rate each speaker on a series of attitudes, and an analysis is made of differential ratings of the same speaker when using different languages. These attributes often include judgments on intelligence, personality, and suitability for particular occupations. One of the most interesting findings has been the readiness of so many subjects to judge others on the basis of only limited speech samples. A word of caution must be added about the use of quantitative measures with people from different cultural backgrounds, as it was earlier for the study of variable social markers. While the measures may be statistically reliable, the validity of such studies can be established in these situations only through qualitative research.

The perceived identity of the investigator, for example, can strongly influence quantitative outcomes. Judging occupational suitability presumes a hierarchy in terms of prestige, and what this is must be determined anew for each culture being investigated. Unawareness of cultural factors can invalidate research findings. People develop strategies of successful intercultural adaptation and communication, they establish, in Stenger¶s words (1998) the intercultural basic situation .To our mind, there should be a clear-cut distinction between: -Intercultural encounter, be it recurrent or not in nature, which extends over relatively short periods of time, where cultural identities are in flux, where there is identity negotiation implying the individuals¶ ability µ¶to hold two polarized value systems and be at ease with the dynamic tensions that exist between the vulnerability spectrum and the security spectrum¶¶(Jameson,2007), and -Intercultural identity, which is a time-consuming process resulting in µ¶an expanded and more flexible µ¶self (Kim.1995), i.e. a hybrid identity in which the home culture elements lose their salience in favor of the host culture ones. Problems in understanding and miscommunication: Potential problem areas Many communication problems are directly linked to differences in cultural conventions, for example: ± When temporal references are made, ± When urgency is expressed, e.g., in stories, or ± When certain terms associated with a particular institution have different connotations, etc. However, it is not always possible to draw a clear-cut distinction between this sort of communication difficulty and other problematic areas. In some cases, communication problems are more closely associated with deficits in nonnative language competences. In other cases, they are linked to more general institutional problems. And finally, intercultural contact, too, can be subject to the sort of communication problems and breakdowns which occur in all types of conversations, and can disrupt all kinds of oral communication. Therefore, it is possible to differentiate between four basic sources of miscommunication: (1) General problems in understanding which can occur in any conversation (2) Problems in understanding which can be attributed to the institutional setting and the conversational roles of the participants, (3) Problems in understanding which can be traced back to differences in the linguistic competence of native and non-native speakers and language acquisition problems, (4) Problems in understanding which arise due to a mismatch in culture specific knowledge and to cultural contrasts in action-related norms and expectations. Furthermore, it can be assumed that these potential problem areas interact with one another: (1) and (2): µGenerally possible¶ problems in understanding progress differently when they occur in institutional settings because, for example, institutional roles can affect the available ways of resolving the problem.

(1) and (3): µGenerally possible¶ problems in understanding progress differently when they occur in interactions between native and non-native speakers. In the case of acoustic interference, for example, limitations in linguistic competence place constraints both on the extent to which missing parts of the utterance can be reconstructed and on the measures which can be taken to repair the problem. (1) and (4): µGenerally possible¶ problems in understanding progress differently when they occur in intercultural contexts because cooperation in repair work can be hampered by differing conventions and routines, and the resolution of problems in understanding can be obstructed by differences in cultural norms. (3) and (4): Different linguistic competences can be associated with a higher potential for problems in understanding in intercultural settings, for example, because particular features of non-native speech can lead to misinterpretation and stigmatization. Moreover, a higher potential for problems in understanding is inherently linked to limited possibilities for repair for both of the contributory factors. (2) and (3): Different linguistic competences can be associated with a higher potential for problems in understanding in institutional settings, especially, when the ability to produce complex utterances is a prerequisite for the necessary conversational roles and individual action components. This can be disadvantageous with respect to the realization of action models and the pursuit of action goals. (2) and (4): The combination of intercultural communication and institutional settings leads to a higher potential for problems in understanding because institutional interactions are generally characterized by culture-specific notions about the sequence of actions and the realization of individual action components. This leads to problems with respect to the complementary nature of the conversational roles and to cooperation expectations. Moreover, the following combinations can occur: (1) and (2) and (3), (1) and (2) and (4), (1) and (3) and (4), (2) and (3) and (4). As can: (1) and (2) and (3) and (4). Theorists of intercultural communication, including those of cross-cultural communication and psychology, have generally attempted to offer causal explanations of failure or success of intercultural contact and communication and their central focus has been on linguistic and psychological differences across cultures (e.g. Kushner & Brislin 1996; Hofstede 1980; Ting Toomey 1999; Trompenaar 1993). Hence, µcompetence¶ in the target language and culture is regarded as the key to success; otherwise, µmiscommunication¶, µmisunderstanding¶, hence µcommunication breakdown¶ will result. As the central, quintessential problem in intercultural communication, µmisunderstanding¶, as may be pointed out, is also seen as the consequence of individual or, more charitably, cultural, difference in semantics or cognition. Guided by this kind of underlying notions of person, culture and communication, researchers have usually devoted their attention to investigating differences in linguistic structure (e.g. Wierzbicka 1991), discourse structure (e.g. Scollon & Scollon 1995), speech acts (e.g. Blum-Kulka,House, & Kasper 1989), cognition (Gudykunst 1988; Kim1991) and social systems (e.g. Hofstede 1980; Trompenaar 1993) between peoples of different cultural backgrounds. In identifying the differences between one¶s native language and culture and those of the cultural .Other, their

ultimate goal is to explain µmisunderstanding¶ and µmiscommunication¶. In education on intercultural communication as well as foreign languages, the main objective then is to impart as much as possible relevant knowledge and skill. Central to this kind of understanding of (intercultural) communication are two implicit assumptions that should be subjected to critical attention. One is the notion that communicating individuals are in an equal relation and so are their cultures that they embody. Another is the idea that what people do in (intercultural) communication is primarily exchanging information. In such an understanding, culture is presented as being without history and, so, without the habits of prejudice, stereotyping, repression or exclusion. Moreover, communication is rendered powerless. But when µmisunderstanding¶, µmiscommunication¶, or no communication at all, is attributed to merely deficiencies in linguistic and cultural knowledge or competence, one consequence is that attention is diverted from relations of power and practices of oppression, prejudice or resistance. The intellectual, professional practice serves not only to collude with the existing unequal power relations-including the dominating (socio-economic) power, (cultural) interest, (business) motive ± in which all intercultural communication takes place, but also, at least potentially, to obscure, legitimate the power-motivated practices of control, domination or prejudice associated with the so-called misunderstandings, miscommunications and frustrations. Ultimately, it helps perpetuate existing conditions of inequality and injustice .This kind of (intercultural) communication theory can be related back to the dominant American Western ideological discourses of individualism, cultural-relativism and ultimately universalism. There has recently been a fair amount of critical work that has taken these to task and point to the role of power and history in the process of intercultural communication (e.g. Koole & Ten Thije 1994; see also Bubel, Day, Liebscher, & Rehbein this volume).But, in order to create a more adequate and more effective theory of intercultural communication, the inherent and implicit notion of culture, which is often taken for granted in the dominant cultural-relativist paradigm, must be replaced by a radically different view. According to this tradition, culture may be seen as a group¶s contested way of making meaning through symbolic means. There are a number of interrelated aspects in the definition that may be unpacked here. First and foremost, culture is not an independent dimension of society, but penetrates the whole way of life of a group of people. Not only may literature or art be called culture, but also are all other sense making activities such as conversation, journalism, education, science, etc. As such, secondly, culture should be understood as, not fixed structure, but shifting and diversified process. Cultural practices in education for example are changing, hybridizing and re-inventing themselves in relation and interaction with the broader cultural context. Thirdly, culture is a social practice that requires symbolic means, visual, audio, spoken, written, etc. While it is not easy to distinguish the symbolic from what is not symbolic, from the practical, semiotic, professional point of view, we may agree that language, gesture, facial expression, image, sound are among the more common ones. Fourth and more importantly, human cultures are diversified patterns of meaning making and so competing with one another. Western culture has rarely if ever represented and treated other cultures as equals. Finally, because of its intrinsic power, culture also functions as norm or hegemony (in Grimace¶s sense) to guide, regulate or control cultural members¶ action.

A very important dimension of the interpenetration of culture and communication, power is conceived of as the effect of human social practice whereby things get done or people are put under control (cf. Giddiness 1984). It may be manifested in various aspects of social relations, events and practices and can be related to instruments or resources for action (e.g. languages, knowledge and social positions). As integral part of social action and hence social event, it is always morally defined, i.e. depending on norms and values of the specific cultural and historical context, such that power can be in the state of domination, exclusion, resistance or equilibrium. These power relations may be defined in terms of individuals, groups or institutions. Power can be, for example, such relations and practices of domination, exploitation, exclusion, prejudice, resistance and the like between the East and the West, the North and the South, the centre and the peripheral, the Empire and the colony and so on. Intercultural communication then is a process of power relations and power contest par excellence. Proceeding from his basic notion of communication, we can sketch out our radical multiculturalists¶ perspective on intercultural communication. Firstly, beyond surface forms and abstract knowledge, intercultural communication must be considered in its concrete and specific historical context. The complex web of historical and cultural relations forms integral part of intercultural communication. Misunderstandings, miscommunication, no communication, racist talk, etc. can only make full sense if we subject them to this contextual background of historically evolved symbols, concepts, relations, stereotypes and so on and so forth. More specifically, it may be said that intercultural communication has always been situated in the very context of imbalance in power and inequality in resources between the East and the West, the North and the South, the majority and the minority, the rich and poor, etc. The global, international, and regional order is not one of equilibrium and peace, but essentially one of dominance and control. Secondly, beyond individualism and monologist, intercultural communication must be understood in relational, dialogical and social-interactional terms. Meanings of contributions in processes of intercultural communication and interpretations thereof are other-related and other-oriented. Put another way, intercultural communication is socially organized activity, so that the meaning of communication, hence µunderstanding¶, cannot be reduced to an individual (¶s words) (Leeds-Hurwitz 1995). Just as in everyday conversation (Atkinson & Heritage 1984), meaning in intercultural communication is jointly constructed, negotiated, transformed. This means consequently that problems of intercultural communication cannot be attributed to singular forms or speaking parties. Thirdly, beyond representationalism, intercultural communication must be viewed as primarily forms of action. In such intercultural interaction, speakers are acting and acting upon each other and consequently power consequences are involved, too. In their interaction, people do not simply µunderstand¶ each other; rather, they are concerned with changing states of affairs, through talking and writing. Consequently, people cannot be analyzed merely in terms of µunderstandings¶ or µmisunderstandings¶. Dialects We deal with four types of dialects: geographic, temporal and social dialects and idiolects. Dialects indicate the speaker¶s appurtenance or affiliation to a certain group or speech community. Dialects consist of a common core and some additional features or marks (at the phonological, grammatical and lexical level).

Geographical dialects synchronic variants and they do not correspond to the territorial borders ± instead of clear-cut instances, we speak of a continuum. They are especially marked at the phonological level (accent), although they can be distinguished at the lexical level as well. The English language comprises British English, American English and Australian English; the division can go further ± for example, the Scottish dialect within British English or the Occitan dialect within French in France. Temporal dialects - this kind of linguistic evolution reflects the economic, social and cultural changes throughout centuries. The periods taken into consideration are broad ones; numerous authors identify Old English, Middle Age English, Modern English and contemporary English, although there are some others who suggest a stricter chronology: the English of the 19th century, of the 20th century etc. We can state that each generation has their linguistic preferences or choices which are not readily spotted. D.A. Cruse (1986) supports this idea by providing the series wireless vs. radio, swimming ±bath vs. swimming-pool, where the first terms are no longer used. Social reality can be said to promote new terms: unemployment (engl.) / chomage (fr.) or co-habitation / cohabitation (fr.) were not used 100 years ago because speakers could not possibly conceive such reality. Social dialects result from the social hierarchy which characterizes the speech community in which the speaker has a certain status. More than any other linguistic variation, they reflect the speaker¶s sense of in-group membership or group loyalty. There are two main social dialects: U and non-U (U = upper class). D.A. Cruse thinks of the following examples as lexical marks: scullery vs. kitchen vs. kitchenette, toilet vs. lavatory, spuds vs. potatoes. The other in which the terms appear indicates improved social standard. J. van Roey (1990) shares Cruse¶s opinion, arguing that such lexical choices are a matter of social prestige. He is the author of a contrastive English ± French lexicology. In UK, sociolects are primary marked at the phonological level ± µ¶the stronger the regional accent, the lower the social status¶¶ (Trudgill, 1995), while in France, social differences are evaluated according to grammatical and lexical marks. Idiolects are to be equated to the idiosyncratic use of language. They are linguistic varieties determined by the speaker¶s identity. Every speaker makes his / her own linguistic habits such as favorite words or phrase, a particular accents or syntactical constructions etc. Idiolectal variations comprise geographical, temporal and social dialect features. Undoubtedly, linguistic variations raise particular problems in translation as there is no 1:1 correspondence between languages. The traditional approach to translation was source language ±oriented. The contemporary approach is target language ± oriented and aims at dynamic

equivalence (Nida and Taber,1969) or equivalent effect (Newmark, 1998), which in fact measures the impact the translation has over the readership. Cumulatively, the translator must be sensitive to the two languages and cultures in which he / she operates, he / she must be familiar with the field in which he / she translates, he / she must emphasize with the original text and its author to be able to decode the message, he / she must identify the context of situation and be aware of the readership expectations, social practices and values. Text analysis in translation involves a top down procedure, from the macro to the micro-level, from the whole text to the word as a meaningful unit. Text is not merely a linguistic phenomenon; it serves the communicative function, being anchored in a context of situation.

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