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The "self-referential" meaning presumably arose from the metadata beloved of techies, but this is also a typical usage, where it simply means "ironic".Something is meta (and self referential) if it is about itself.Communication accommodation theory (CAT) is a theory of communication developed by Howard Giles.
It WAS catchy, but no comparison to their first hit--can't remember the name right now--"what can I do now"??
The communication accommodation theory has broadened this theory to include not only speech but also the "non-verbal and discursive dimensions of social interaction".
Like speech accommodation theory, communication accommodation theory continues to draw from social psychology, particularly from four main socio-psychology theories: similarity-attraction, social exchange, causal attribution and intergroup distinctiveness.
For example, “flipping out” is slang for “losing one's mind” or “losing one's temper.” Slang expressions are usually inappropriate in formal speech or writing.
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co.