Language and interpersonal communication: Their intergroup dynamics

Marko Dragojevic, Howard Giles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Intergroup communication occurs when either person in a social interaction defines self or other in terms of their social identity (i.e., as a group member) rather than their personal identity (i.e., as a unique individual). In this chapter, we argue that most interactions traditionally considered interpersonal are actually intergroup in nature. Positioning our argument in light of intergroup theories, we first discuss the dynamic nature of communication, noting how conversation can quickly shift between various degrees of interpersonal and intergroup salience. Second, we describe the social categorization process, with particular emphasis on the ways in which social identities are marked, established, and negotiated communicatively through various verbal (e.g., language, topic) and nonverbal (e.g., clothing, makeup) cues. Next, some of the features that characterize intergroup interactions are developed, focusing on changes in perception, language use, as well as various communicative adjustments and misadjustments. Then, we note some ways in which intergroup encounters may be redefined in more interpersonal terms. Finally, several principles of intergroup communication are proposed and avenues for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterpersonal Communication
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783110276794
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.


  • Accommodation
  • Intergroup
  • Interpersonal
  • Language
  • Social categorization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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