• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The discipline of communication has grown in popularity from the time professors of journalism and speech decided, in the mid-1960s, that the term “communication” was an excellent general descriptor for the theory and research that each group aspired to create.  Over time, the two groups grew closer and recognized significant overlap in their theoretical and research interests, but there were also differences in their traditions that kept them apart.  While both groups agreed that communication is a practical discipline, journalism professors focused a great deal of their attention on the education of media professionals.  Speech professors, on the other hand, often were more oriented to the liberal arts and valued the fact that communication could be approached from a variety of traditions, including the arts, ...

Conversation, Dialogue, and Discourse
Conversation, dialogue, and discourse

Conversation, dialogue, discourse. Each of these terms names a form of communication in everyday life, yet each directs our attention in different ways. Conversation, ordinarily understood as informal, free-flowing talk, is what we do with friends, family, and coworkers when we have meals together, do joint tasks, or talk on the phone. Conversation is a descriptive term; it captures one kind of talking that is an alternative to others, such as interviewing, being in a meeting, or giving a speech.

Dialogue is both a descriptive term and an evaluative one. As a descriptive term, dialogue is a synonym for conversation. This descriptive meaning traces its roots to the scholarship of Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian scholar who wrote in the ...

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