From Academic Kids

Conversation can be confused with conservation and vice versa. For the movie from Francis Ford Coppola, see The Conversation.

A conversation is civil communication by two or more people, often on a particular topic. William F. Buckley's Firing Line, the Dick Cavett Show, and many other television programs described as "talk shows" are exercises in conversation. Conversations are the ideal form of communication from at least one point of view, since they allow people with different views of a topic to learn from each other. A speech, on the other hand, is an oral presentation by one person directed at a group.

Conversers naturally relate the other speaker's statements to themselves, and insert themselves (or some degree of relation to themselves, ranging from the replier's opinions or points to actual stories about themselves) into their replies. For a successful conversation, the partners must achieve a workable balance of contributions. A successful conversation includes mutually interesting connections between the speakers or things that the speakers know. For this to happen, conversers must find a topic on which they can relate in some sense.


1 See also
2 External links

Conversational Phenomena

Conversers will often find that the conversation suddenly dies when everyone simultaneously runs out of things to say. A remedy for this phenomenon is to have another topic readily at hand.

Ho'oponopono is a Hawaiian word for a traditional form of conversation that two or more parties use to settle a particularly egregious dispute. In it, the parties to the disagreement agree to stay in a single room with a moderator and negotiate until the argument is settled.


Faux Pas

Types of Conversation

Modes of conversation include small talk, gossip, ribaldry, pillow talk, repartee, negotiation, interview, argument, and full-fledged debate.

Topics of Conversation

Topics of conversation that are often contentious include religion, politics, and philosophy.

Topics that are good for producing fruitful discussion include films, books, television or other arts, current events, projects, hobbies, one's work or school life, one's family, and mutual friends.

Famous Conversations

  • Fictional conversations among Greek philosophers such as Socrates were recorded by Plato in the Dialogues of Plato, available here ( It is believed that the early dialogues were largely based on the thoughts of the historical Socrates, whereas the latter dialogues reflected Plato's own doctrines.
  • The Yalta Conference
  • A 1941 conversation between physicists Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg that apparently destroyed their friendship is dramatized in the play Copenhagen by Michael Frayn.

Literature on Conversation

Authors who have written extensively on conversation and attempted to analyze its nature include:

  • Deborah Tannen - The Argument Culture: Stopping America's War of Words, Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk Among Friends, Gender and Discourse, I Only Say This Because I Love You, Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work, That's Not What I Meant!, You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation,

See also

External links


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools