Conversation is interactive communication between two or more people.
The development of conversational skills and etiquette is an important part of socialization. The development of conversational skills in a new language is a frequent focus of language teaching and learning.
Conversation analysis is a branch of sociology which studies the structure and organization of human interaction, with a more specific focus on conversational interaction.
Banter is short witty sentences that bounce back and forth between individuals. Often banter uses clever put-downs and witty insults, misunderstandings (often intentional), zippy wisecracks, zingers, flirtation, and puns. The idea is each line of banter should “top” the one before it and in short a verbal war of wit without any physical contact.
Important factors in delivering a banter is the subtext, situation and the rapport with the person. Every line in a banter should be able to evoke both an emotional response and ownership without hurting one’s feelings. Following a structure that the involved parties understand is important, even if the subject and structure is absurd, a certain level of progression should be kept in a manner that it connects with the involved parties.
One element of conversation is discussion: sharing opinions on subjects that are thought of during the conversation. In polite society the subject changes before discussion becomes dispute or controversial. For example, if theology is being discussed, maybe no one is insisting a particular view be accepted.
Many conversations can be divided into four categories according to their major subject content:
- Subjective ideas, which often serve to extend understanding and awareness.
- Objective facts, which may serve to consolidate a widely held view.
- Other people (usually absent), which may be either critical, competitive, or supportive. This includes gossip.
- Oneself, which sometimes indicate attention-seeking behavior or can provide relevant information about oneself to participants in the conversation.
Practically, few conversations fall exclusively into one category. Nevertheless, the proportional distribution of any given conversation between the categories can offer useful psychological insights into the mind set of the participants. This is the reason that the majority of conversations are difficult to categorize.
Most conversations may be classified by their goal. Conversational ends may, however, shift over the life of the conversation.
- Functional conversation is designed to convey information in order to help achieve an individual or group goal.
- Small talk is a type of conversation where the topic is less important than the social purpose of achieving bonding between people or managing personal distance, such as ‘how is the weather’ might be portrayed as an example, which conveys no practicality whatsoever.