16. Accommodating Multilinguality

  1. Tej K. Bhatia and
  2. William C. Ritchie
  1. Itesh Sachdev1,
  2. Howard Giles2 and
  3. Anne Pauwels1

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch16

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition

How to Cite

Sachdev, I., Giles, H. and Pauwels, A. (2012) Accommodating Multilinguality, in The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Second Edition (eds T. K. Bhatia and W. C. Ritchie), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118332382.ch16

Editor Information

  1. Syracuse University, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK

  2. 2

    University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 7 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444334906

Online ISBN: 9781118332382



  • bilingualism;
  • code-switching;
  • communication accommodation theory (CAT);
  • multilingual accommodation;
  • multilingual communication;
  • social psychological processes


This chapter aims to provide a social psychological perspective on bilingual and multilingual communication. This approach stems from notions of psychological and behavioral accommodation in bilingual and multilingual encounters. In order to understand and model the vast array of acts of multilingual communication, this chapter invokes communication accommodation theory (CAT) that Howard Giles and his colleagues have been developing over several decades. The chapter restricts itself to multilingual accommodation as exemplified by convergence, divergence, maintenance, and code-switching. Previously neglected macro-level variables, such as state language policies, have been included explicitly as macro-level variables in this chapter, whilst mediator variables, such as acculturation orientations, have been conceptually integrated with other social psychological processes in a broader model of bilingual accommodation. Research on multilingual communication has been important for the development of accommodation theory and the chapter presents a revised model of multilingual accommodation.