What is "accommodation" in English? What types of accommodation are there?

I've tried to search in the Internet, but I could not find proper information.

  • I googled "phonetic accommodation" and got two (conflicting) definitions on the first page.
    – user3503
    Jun 15, 2014 at 20:03
  • 4
    You must have been studying phonetics in Eastern Europe/Russia. The English equivalent is coarticulation.
    – Alex B.
    Jun 15, 2014 at 21:16

3 Answers 3


The other meaning, not meaning "coarticulation", refers to how people change their pronunciation depending on their audience. For instance, my native pronunciation of "root" is [rʊt], which is completely unknown to most non-native speakers, therefore is I ask for the word "root", I have to pronounce it [ruwt]. Likewise, two speakers may start to sound more like each other, depending on lots of social variables. Here is a dissertation on the topic.


The phenomenon called 'phonetic accommodation' happens when people change the way they speak due to their interlocutors' speech.

On the other hand, 'assimilation' is a phonological process that occurs when a phoneme adopts some features of its neighbouring sounds (regressive/progressive assimilation).


Accommodation is the modification in the articulation of a vowel under the influence of an adjacent sound, or the modification in the articulation of a consonant under the influence of an adjacent vowel. Consonant + back vowel: pool, rude, who (rounded) Consonant + front vowel: tea, sit, keep (spread)

  • /ɹ/ is not a good example, because it's inherently round in onset position, thus also in [ɹʷɪtʃ]; and "who" is ambiguous in dialects that contrast [w] and [ʍ]. Better examples would be "loose" vs. "lease".
    – user6726
    May 16, 2015 at 21:33
  • More examples, please. May 18, 2015 at 1:14

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