The orderliness and sociability of “talking together”

  • Chiara Bassetti, University of Trento
  • Kenneth Liberman, University of Oregon



simultaneous talk, “talking together”, listening, sociability, ethnomethods


Conversations among Italians often entail many-at-a-time rather than one-at-a-time speaking. This “talking together” is a deliberate aim of parties and a relevant aspect of their social life. It is a variant system for organizing ordinary talk. We describe how simultaneity is organized, how participants collaborate to maintain the orderliness of their interaction, and how, to do so, they listen to each other and continuously monitor talk for its content and its form. Following Simmel, we see this as a classic example of sociability, a play-form of sociation.