Coordinating the language, agility, and rhythm of an individual one is conversing with, means experiencing an authentic demonstration of Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT). It is referred to as convergence. Additionally, utilizing similar slang words as one’s peers, especially as a teenager (despite how annoying it is to parents or teachers or any other person), is also an authentic experience with another feature of CAT. This feature is divergence. The presented paper intends to investigate a news event that incorporates the CAT in some aspects.
A newsworthy event featured in the Guardian on January 14, 2015, written by Robin Boylorn is an example of a press event, which is evident in our social scene. It has some aspects of the Communication Accommodation Theory, namely divergence. Boylorn (2015) writes about the word ‘bae’ as the one that only made its way to prevailing jargon in the last few years. It is a word that most African Americans have been closely familiar with for decades. Its derivation is imprecise, but its meanings and distinction can be inferred from the context. It is a term of fondness for individuals who are not intimate. It can be also used to claim and disclose intimacy between a person and his or her lover.
Musicians, for instance, Pharrel and Miley Cyrus, use this word in their song lyrics. Various articles attempt to define the word ‘bae’, while otherwise, renowned companies have started employing the term in their social media advertisement campaigns, and the general population started using it. At this point, it was acknowledged trite by different groups of upper-class white community media like Time Magazine. White people’s adoption of the term crooked it to the point of wrong application and uselessness.
Cultural appropriation reduces words, exaggerates, and then disposes of them. This sort of language provision increases the value of white identity, while further additionally marginalizing groups that are not dominant. This cultural appropriating of black language and expression repeatedly happens, allowing non-African Americans to experience black culture. It occurs through the application of African American indigenous English and slang without having to assume the cultural result of actually being in a culture trained to depreciate and dismiss it. Language appropriation is also open to doubt, since it gives predominant groups authority over the language. Dominant groups get to make a determination, for example, when a particular vocabulary should be utilized, and then the word becomes a hackneyed phrase. Usually in the formation, as happened with ‘bae’, in the end, the dominant group alters the definition or utterance of words altogether.
Another aspect of convergence was a news event featured by Chow (2013) in NPR news in the segment of code-switch (frontiers of race, culture, and ethnicity). A lot of news events on code-switching have been featured in this section. Chow states that there are many reasons, why celebrities and other people employ code-switching in popular culture. From his interview, various individuals give such reason for using it as a need to belong, not to feel like an outsider. If one’s family is used to code-switching, then one tends to adopt that. For instance, Gloria, a cast in a ‘Modern family’ comedy show, often employs code-switching in the series, for example, when her family come to town to visit baby Fulgencio. Another reason for the use of code-switching highlighted by interviewees is that one hates it, when others try way too hard. In addition, translating is not easy for many people.
In summary, slang is often used by people so that they could fit in. In this case, the word ‘bae’ is overly used by individuals, especially young people, who particularly often want to show they are trendy. Besides, many motivations make some individuals use the language behavior of code-switching. Consequently, one can state that our everyday speech indeed has some aspects of the Communication Accommodation Theory.
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