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Definitions of Acculturation

(noun) The process and resulting changes that occur when two or more cultures come into contact.

Examples of Acculturation

Acculturation Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: ac·cul·tur·a·tion

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /uh-kuhl-chuhr-rAY-shuhn/
  • British English – /uh-kuhl-chuh-rAY-shuhn/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /əˌkəltʃəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
  • British English – /əˌkʌltʃᵿˈreɪʃn/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: acculturations
  • When an individual or group maintain the primary aspects of their identity while integrating aspects of another culture, they develop cultural pluralism. For example, when immigrants learn the language of their new home.
  • In contrast to acculturation, enculturation is the process of an individual or group learning and adapting to the norms and values of a culture or society in which they are immersed (e.g., learning a new language or clothing style).
  • Some sources list acculturation, enculturation, and socialization as synonyms, while these terms are similar and easily confused, they are not synonyms in an academic context.
  • Acculturation is the process by which a culture or (noun) acculturator (verb) acculturates an individual (adverb) acculturatively through an (adjective) acculturational or (adjective) acculturative process to become (adjective) acculturated.

Related Quotation

  • “The kind of person we become depends greatly on what we learn during our formative years from our surrounding social groups and social environment” (Kendall 2006:105).

Related Videos

Additional Information

Related Terms


Kendall, Diana. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Works Consulted

Abercrombie, Nicolas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.

Bruce, Steve, and Steven Yearley. 2006. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Collins. 2003. Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Ember, Carol R., and Melvin Ember, eds. 2003. Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World’s Cultures. New York: Springer.

Farlex. (N.d.) TheFreeDictionary.com: Dictionary, Encyclopedia and Thesaurus. Farlex. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).

Kornblum, William. 2008. Sociology in a Changing World. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Cite the Definition of Acculturation

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “acculturation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/acculturation/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

acculturation. (2014). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/acculturation/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2014. “acculturation.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/acculturation/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“acculturation.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2014. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/acculturation/>.