Everyday conversation

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As everyday conversation ( chat , even small talk or banter, in dialect, among others, gossiping, chatting, a chat, chat, chat ) is called a conversation , the spontaneous , random run, relaxed and in a colloquial tone in which there are mostly topics the private sphere of life.

Hierarchical differences in relationships between the interlocutors largely take a back seat - that is, they are not treated as relevant. Everyday conversation is the most natural form of spoken language; they take place in natural situations. Features are interactivity , local implementation and control of those involved, orientation towards everyday life and low levels of preliminary planning activities by the actors.

At the beginning (not infrequently also at the end) of serious discussions, a strategic 'chat phase' is often inserted, which is intended to help identify commonalities. In essence, the opposite of spontaneous, she specifically seeks to establish everyday conversation. In some milieus it has to be very extensive in order to enable the target-oriented technical discussion at all - especially in strongly “ community ” and weakly “socially” oriented social circles (cf. Tönnies, Community and Society ).


Chat (chat, Chat, etymologisch onomatopoeic of plodern ) is an informal shape of a call with no solid contents. The topics change very often. It often takes place during non-working hours, for example during breaks , but can also take place in the background during formal discussions. In particular, the word “chat” has little good to say about its origins, for example in Middle High German “pludern”, in Swedish “pladder”, in Danish “bladre” and in Latin “blaterare”, in all cases to be translated consistently with “( stupid) chatter ".

Even chatting follows rules of conversation, but not every participant is aware of them. In a larger society, several smaller groups can emerge that chat independently. From time to time the groups may form larger groups to discuss a common topic. The participants within a conversation group normally separate their own conversation from that of other groups without any problems and are also not disturbed by the background noise caused by the conversations of the others.

Like any conversation, chatting has an opening phase, a main part, and an ending phase. If there are several participants, the composition of the discussion group can change.

Since there is no formal while chatting interviewer is, that the transfer is the word informal rules.

  • The speech is relatively short and either addresses the previous post or changes the topic. Serious topics are often rejected by the interviewees.
  • The handing over and taking over of the word takes place during breaks in the conversation or by interrupting the speaker (the interruption is considered impolite, however).
  • During the speech there are signs of attention, such as short remarks, confirmations, negations, which show that the participants are still on the matter. These are usually not perceived as an interruption.
  • If there are several participants, an informal group can split up, creating two or more different discussion groups.

Chatting is an important form of social communication . In a non-hierarchical atmosphere, good ideas can arise due to the lack of formal obstacles .

When chatting, the interlocutors often use colloquial language or dialect .

Forms of chatting are, for example, small talk, round table discussions , break discussions , “coffee gossip ”. The "gasoline talk" is a form of chat among motorcyclists on the subject of motorcycles. A written form similar to chatting is the chat , in which, however, the important components of non-verbal communication such as gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, body posture and spatial behavior do not come into play, since the main condition of the spatial connection of the interlocutors is not given (this can be done by the use of emoticons or emojis can be imitated and thus compensated).

In literature up until the beginning of the 20th century, “chat” was understood to mean loosely formulated, often glossy, subjective magazine articles that were anchored in the zeitgeist and hung on latently current events. For example, the chats were a standard genre in the German magazine Die Woche . There, in issue 40 of October 1902, a personally held, culturally critical article about the fish aversion of the Austrians and the Germans has the title: " The fish on the table - chat from Bettina Wirth's fishing exhibition in Vienna".

Small talk

Small talk (about "a chat"; from English small "insignificant, small" and to talk " to talk ") is a casual conversation without depth.

Although the topics are insignificant and interchangeable, small talk is very important as a social ritual. It avoids embarrassing silence, serves to loosen up the atmosphere and is the starting point for getting to know each other, for example with business partners. Small talk shows or at least pretends to be interested in the other person. The topics among strangers are usually very general. "Talking about the weather" is almost proverbial. This topic has the advantage that everyone can have an opinion on it and that differences of opinion are acceptable. In addition, the weather can have an influence on a person's activities and thus lead to further, more personal topics.

Typical questions are e.g. B .:

  • "How are you?" (As an introduction)
  • "How is your family?" (Among adults)
  • "What are you still doing today?" (To come up with a topic that is more productive)

Sometimes the fact that you just have to "get rid of" something leads to small talk. Even if you would like to experience something specific, as if casually, small talk can be used as a means to bring up the topic inconspicuously. A good way to distract from an inopportune topic is to ask.

If you are more familiar with someone, you can choose whether a conversation begins with general small talk or whether a specific topic is addressed straight away.

In a professional context, small talk is often seen as a recipe for success. In this way, someone who has mastered “the art of small talk” can build personal relationships with people more quickly and “break the ice”. This is helpful, for example, during an interview or sales meeting or when getting to know new colleagues. For example, brief conversations in coffee corners in a company in particular are considered to be "highly culture-inducing". On the other hand, there is a high risk of making a faux pas during small talk. Anyone who, for example, chats freely about politics, religion, illness or unconfirmed rumors at work lunch or at customer meetings can quickly suffer disadvantages.

Similar forms of communication


  • Helmut Henne, Helmut Rehbock: Introduction to conversation analysis . 2nd improved and enlarged edition. de Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 1982, ISBN 3-11-008461-9 ( Göschen Collection 2212).
  • Annette Kessler: Small Talk from A to Z. 150 questions and answers. Gabal, Offenbach 2007, ISBN 978-3-89749-673-6 .
  • Winfried Lappé: Conversation Dynamics . Conversational analysis investigations into spontaneous everyday conversation. Kümmerle, Göppingen 1983, ISBN 3-87452-610-0 ( Göppingen work on German studies 390), (At the same time dissertation at the University of Bonn , 1983).
  • Carolin Lüdemann : Business small talk for women. The art of a little conversation. Redline Wirtschaft, Heidelberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-636-01467-2 ( Women - Business-Minis ).
  • Doris Märtin , Karin Boeck: Small talk. The fine art of small talk. 13th edition. Heyne, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-453-14838-X ( Heyne books 22 - 14838).
  • Doris Märtin: Smart Talk. Say it right Campus, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 2006, ISBN 3-593-37919-8 .
  • Hans Ramge: Everyday Conversations. Workbook for German lessons in upper secondary level and for self-study. Diesterweg, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1994, ISBN 3-425-06297-2 ( communication / language ).
  • Cornelia Topf: Small Talk , 2nd edition, Haufe, Freiburg im Breisgau 2012, ISBN 978-3-648-03438-5 .
  • Alexander Graf von Schönburg-Glauchau : Small talk: The art of stylish participation . Rowohlt Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-87134-787-0 .
  • Dieter J. Zittlau: Small Talk. What can I say? How do I avoid embarrassing situations? How do I convince in an interview? Humboldt, Hannover 2010, ISBN 978-3-86910-012-8 ( Information & Knowledge ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Everyday conversation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Smalltalk  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Winfried Lappé: Conversation Dynamics . Conversational analysis investigations into spontaneous everyday conversation . Kümmerle, Göppingen 1983, ISBN 3-87452-610-0
  2. plunder. In: Jacob Grimm , Wilhelm Grimm (Hrsg.): German dictionary . tape 13 : N, O, P, Q - (VII). S. Hirzel, Leipzig 1889, Sp. 1929 ( woerterbuchnetz.de ).
  3. Reiner Kafitz: 'Corporate culture: 5 aspects that are important. February 5, 2016, accessed March 1, 2016 .