Contributors: W. Barnett Pearce, Stephen E. Lucas, Donal Carbaugh, Molefi Kete Asante, Everett M. Rogers, William B Hart, Roderick P. Hart Jr., and Julia T. Wood.

Conversation in America: Changing Rules, Hidden Dimensions

Conversation in America: Changing rules, hidden dimensions
William F.Eadie San Diego State University
Paul E.Nelson North Dakota State University

Conversation does not appear to be a controversial topic. Because people talk, they assume that they can converse. But conversation, although seemingly natural, is fraught with difficulty. Even people in long-term relationships—where the individuals involved ought to know each other's attitudes, values, and uses for words—find that they are not always understood. Take away that knowledge in casual relationships and add differences in cultural experiences, attitudes, and values, and everything ranging from misunderstanding to outright hostility can easily occur.

These differences have become ever more noticeable as society has become more diverse. As individuals and groups have expressed their sensitivities to speech they ...

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