Review Let’s talk: How English conversation works (a review)

original work by DAVID CRYSTAL reviewed by BARRY TOMALIN

What really goes on in a conversation and how do we express it linguistically in English? That’s the subject of 'Let’s Talk' – a study of conversation by the linguist and author, David Crystal. As one of the world’s leading experts on the English language and a noted broadcaster, lecturer and writer, David Crystal wears his immense learning lightly. His scholarship is muted but effective, and his style is, well, conversational. 'Let’s Talk', subtitled 'How English Conversation Works', explores the underlying conventions of conversation in eighteen chapters, covering greetings, starting conversations, turn-taking, interrupting, expressing opinions, telephone and online conversations, dealing with topical subjects and cultural misunderstandings, as well as looking at emerging ‘rules’ of conversation and a final discussion on how conversation is changing.

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