Let's Talk: How English Conversation Works



Banter, Chit Chat, Gossip, Natter, Tete A Tete These Are Just A Few Of The Terms For The Varied Ways In Which We Interact With One Another Through Conversation David Crystal Explores The Factors That Motivate So Many Different Kinds Of Talk And Reveals The Rules We Use Unconsciously, Even In The Most Routine Exchanges Of Everyday Conversation We Tend To Think Of Conversation As Something Spontaneous, Instinctive, Habitual It Has Been Described As An Art, As A Game, Sometimes Even As A Battle Whichever Metaphor We Use, Most People Are Unaware Of What The Rules Are, How They Work, And How We Can Bend And Break Them When Circumstances Warrant ItLet's Talk: How English Conversation Works

David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland in 1941, he spent his early years in Holyhead His family moved to Liverpool in 1951, and he received his secondary schooling at St Mary s College He read English at University College London 1959 62 , specialised in English language studies, did some research there at the Survey of English Usage under Randolph Quirk 1962 3 , then joined academic life as a lecturer in linguistics, first at Bangor, then at Reading He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies, in such fields as intonation and stylistics, and in the application of linguistics to religious, educational and clinical contexts, notably in the development of a range of linguistic profiling techniques for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years, and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor These days he divides his time between work on language and work on internet applications.source

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  • Hardcover
  • 224 pages
  • Let's Talk: How English Conversation Works
  • David Crystal
  • 01 July 2019
  • 0198850697

10 thoughts on “Let's Talk: How English Conversation Works

  1. says:

    A tremendous amount of attention has been given over the years to writing, good and bad, and some as well to oratory, but most people have probably never seen an extended discussion of conversation, which is a mode of communication most people usethan either of the other two Certainly none of my teachers ever taught us about conversation, and they probably never studied it themselves We all just DO it Nonetheless, there are rules that we follow unconsciously, and in Let s Talk linguist A tremendous amount of attention has been given over the years to writing, good and bad, and some as well to oratory, but most people have probably never seen an extended discussion of conversation, which is a mode of communication most people usethan either of the other two Certainly none of my teachers ever taught us about conversation, and they probably never studied it themselves We all just DO it Nonetheless, there are rules that we follow unconsciously, and in Let s Talk linguist David Crystal explores the different kinds of talk in which we all engage, what motivates us to have a conversation, what rules or conventions we follow, and what the repercussions might be if we go against convention He discusses factors like pauses, interruptions, phatic conversation, and whether a conversation must have a topic.People have probably been conversing as long as we have had language, and Crystal looks at the history of conversation that shows its universality and its popularity There is a passage of conversation from the historian and saint Bede from the early eighth century and a description of conversation chairs in the eighteenth century He also includes observations on conversation from sources ranging from Montaigne to J R R Tolkien In earlier days conversation was always face to face, but modern technology enables us to converse , in Crystal s opinion, using other media like telephones or online chats Crystal also takes a look at these other media and their special conventions and challenges.Like many conversations, Let s Talk is wide ranging and covers a lot of ground As a result, like many conversations, it at times seems a bit disorganized or somewhat off topic, but unlike many conversations, at least it always does return to its main theme As everyone knows, a great deal of the communication in conversation is nonverbal and often unconscious , through mechanisms like body language, inflections, and pauses Crystal tries to convey some of this through a convention in which he inserts to show the boundary of an intonation or rhythm unit, a for a short pause, a for a longer pause, a for overlapping speech, and to enclose simultaneous feedback a polite way to say interruption It was a valiant effort, but it made the conversations he quotes so hard to read that I confess I skipped over many of them.Reading the book has influenced me, though It has made me a closer observer of conversation around me and the conversations in which I participate For example, Crystal devotes a whole chapter to greetings and farewells, and it has been fun for me to observe aspects of greetings that we normally never think about How do I decide whether to greet someone, and if so, do I just smile and nod or say, Good morning or Hi there And suppose I have already seen them once that day I have entertained myself by greeting someone in a manner slightly different than my usual mode And I noticeconsciously how they greet me Despite its flaws, there is a wealth of new to me and interesting information in Let s Talk And it just might help me be a better conversationalist Wanna chat My thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an advance review copy of this book

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