Everyday Talk

Second Edition
Building and Reflecting Identities

Karen Tracy and Jessica S. Robles

A Paperback Originale-bookprint + e-book
A Paperback Original
July 31, 2013
ISBN 9781462511471
Price: $45.00
372 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
July 22, 2013
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $45.00
372 Pages
print + e-book
A Paperback Original + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $90.00 $49.50
372 Pages
Professors: free copies available for adoption consideration
Download an e-book copy now or order a print copy

This engaging text explores how everyday talk—the ordinary kinds of communicating that people do in schools, workplaces, and among family and friends—expresses who we are and who we want to be. The authors interweave rhetorical and cultural perspectives on the “little stuff” of conversation: what we say and how we say it, the terms used to refer to others, the content and style of stories we tell, and more. Numerous detailed examples show how talk is the vehicle through which people build relationships. Students gain skills for thinking more deeply about their own and others' communicative practices, and for understanding and managing interactional difficulties.

New to This Edition Pedagogical Features

“A particularly welcome aspect of the book is that many illustrative examples are transcripts of 'real' everyday talk. Another commendable feature of the extracts is the rich array of socio-cultural contexts they are drawn from....I would recommend this book to students and scholars with an interest in language, communication, and social interaction....It is a scholarly, accessible and engaging synthesis of a diverse literature. Thus it is an excellent text for undergraduates and a useful sourcebook for graduates and academics.”

Journal of Sociolinguistics (on the first edition)

“Students should find the book easy to follow and interesting in terms of their own conversational practices....Although intended as a textbook, libraries supporting undergraduate studies in this area may wish to acquire a copy for circulation.”

Choice Reviews (on the first edition)

“A very approachable and comprehensive autopsy of modern interactions….This is a book that will change your understanding of communication, and how relationships are built as well as how we project our identities. A useful resource for students, but also an enlightening read for anyone interested in communication.”

The Psychologist

“This accessible work can be used to support various courses within communication studies but could also be beneficial in other disciplines that require communication courses. Clearly and engagingly written, with an extensive notes section and a 34-page reference list, this is an excellent resource. Recommended. All readers.”

Choice Reviews

“To deeply understand and study everyday talk, we need to enter into the worlds created through it. Everyday Talk, Second Edition introduces ways of doing exactly that. Readers find a rich array of routine instances of talk about which to reflect. The book links talk to issues of identity, culture, and nation, as well as morals, beliefs, and values, incorporating both rhetorical and cultural perspectives. The inclusion of new social media in the second edition is welcome. Scholars, teachers, and students will benefit from this text's systematic treatment of its subject matter and wide-ranging scope, as well as the easy access it provides through vivid examples and lively prose.”

—Donal Carbaugh, PhD, Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“I can't imagine a more thorough and appealing introduction to the study of language in social interaction and discourse analysis. In this second edition of Everyday Talk, Tracy and Robles meticulously interweave the field's diverse research threads, present sophisticated content in accessible ways, and offer updated, thought-provoking discussions and examples. The book is an excellent resource for both undergraduates and graduate students.”

—Cynthia Gordon, PhD, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, Syracuse University

“I have used Everyday Talk as the foundation text for my iteration of the departmental core course for many years, and the second edition is truly exciting. It retains the features that made the text uniquely useful all along: a clear central argument, engaging examples, a strong theoretical and research foundation, and a student-friendly writing style that also satisfies teachers' needs for rigor and precision. In the second edition, examples have been updated, a theme of social media has been woven throughout the text, and more illustrations from non-Western cultures broaden the book’s scope. This versatile text will be valuable in a wide variety of courses and with many different configurations of students.”

—Kristine L. Muñoz, PhD, Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa

“Tracy and Robles give readers compelling conceptual frames and a rich analytic vocabulary to make sense of—and appreciate—the stream of conversations, encounters, texts, meetings, and more that is the stuff of human social life. The book integrates sociolinguistics, speech act theory, conversation analysis, and contemporary conceptions of identity. Lively, provocative examples illustrate how talk enables people to get things done, create and solve problems, play, argue, come together, pull apart, and navigate selves.”

—Phillip Glenn, PhD, Professor and Interim Dean, School of Communication, Emerson College

“This text is the go-to standard for any class with a language and social interaction focus. Its easy readability, coupled with coverage of all the major works in language and social interaction, makes it appropriate for everything from an introductory communication survey to a master's-level course. The second edition doesn't disappoint; it includes up-to-date studies and an even more diverse set of U.S. and international examples. Many transcript examples (some with online links) bring ethnographic, discourse, and conversation analysis to life and show concretely how 'everyday talk' performs important actions related to identity work. Students will walk away from this book with concepts, theories, and vocabulary for critically analyzing their own and others' communication.”

—Evelyn Y. Ho, PhD, Department of Communication Studies, University of San Francisco

Table of Contents

I. The Argument

1. Talk and Identity

2. Two Perspectives

II. Talk's Building Blocks

3. Person-Referencing Practices

4. Speech Acts

5. The Sound (and Sight) of Talk

6. Interaction Structures

7. Language Selection

III. Complex Discourse Practices

8. Style

9. Stance

10. Narratives

11. Genre

IV. The Conclusion

12. Putting It All Together


About the Authors

Karen Tracy, PhD, is Professor of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she teaches courses on how everyday talk builds and reflects identities and on discourse analysis and ethnographic methods. She also conducts special-topics seminars that examine communicative trouble in the justice system, in higher education, and in meetings of governance groups. Dr. Tracy is the author of more than 80 journal articles and book chapters, as well as several books. Currently she is at work on a book examining the discourse in legislative hearings and state supreme courts disputing who can marry. She is past editor of the journal Research on Language and Social Interaction.

Jessica S. Robles, PhD, is a lecturer in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches courses related to language and social interaction, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, and discourse analysis. She has also taught special-topics courses on moral practices and problems in everyday talk. Dr. Robles's research involves the role of moral issues and differences in interactional trouble. Her recent work includes studies of interactional activities practices, such as gifting occasions and how people's talk associates moral categories with others.


Students, instructors, and researchers in communication.

Course Use

Serves as a text in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, such as Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Communication, Listening Skills, Oral Interpretation, and Speech.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2002
ISBN: 9781572307896
New to this edition:

Pedagogical Features: