This study presents a new perspective on small talk and its crucial role in everyday communication. The new approach presented here is supported by analyses of interactional data in specific settings - private and public, face-to-face and telephone talk. They vary from gossip at the family dinner table and intimate 'keeping in touch' phone conversations, to interpersonally-focused talk in institutional settings, such as the government office and the university research seminar. Drawing on a range of methodological approaches, including Discourse Analysis and Pragmatics, Interpersonal Communication and Conversation Analysis, the author elevates small talk to a new status, as functionally multifaceted, but central to social interaction as a whole.
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