chapter  17
Language Convergence/Meaning Divergence Theory
Creating Conflict Through Misunderstandings
ByDebbie S. Dougherty
Pages 12

This chapter describes the intellectual tradition, main goals and features, how communication is conceptualized, the applied and practical applications, and a critique of Language Convergence/Meaning Divergence (LC/MD). There are three primary components of LC/MD: language convergence, meaning divergence, and the illusion of shared meaning. The combination of language convergence/meaning divergence can create the potential for the illusion of shared meaning, that is, the tendency for shared language to create the impression of agreement when it does not exist. When focusing on language convergence, the notion of communication shortcuts becomes important. Although other theories may focus more on messages or information exchange, LC/MD explores the ongoing production of meaning, in particular how language creates and obscures meanings during interactions. However, feminist and critical research has made it clear that what appears to be shared meanings is simply an illusion created through shared language.