Conversation types

Auli Hakulinen
Table of contents

One way of defining conversation is to see it as something that people engage in off-duty. According to Levinson’s influential text book (1983: 284), conversation is “the predominant kind of talk in which two or more participants freely alternate in speaking, which generally occurs outside specific institutional settings”. On the basis of more recent research, one can view types of conversation as forming a continuum with mundane talk at one end and carefully pre-planned interviewing or some other strictly role and status dependent form of institutional interaction at the other end. What all forms of conversation share, however, is the fact that it is through them that we, as human beings, manage our daily affairs and construct and make sense of our life and activities.

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