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I'm looking for a proper English word to say "conversational partner".

Is "interlocutor" a word an average person would understand?

Are there any other words or shorter expressions which could describe a person you are having a conversation with, but who is not your friend and is basically unknown to you?

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3  
No, the average person wouldn't understand that word. Educated people would, though. –  Robusto Jun 10 '11 at 15:00
    
@Robusto Sorry, I consider myself an educated person, but never heard that word before looked up translation of requested by OP word in my native language :) "The guy I'm talking with", "Mr Smith here"... There're lots of ways to point to your "conversational partner" without using uncommon words. –  Philoto Jun 10 '11 at 15:09
    
I am looking for a short, simple expression. There seem to be simple words for this in every other language I know, but not in English :( –  unbeli Jun 10 '11 at 15:14
    
Right. Different languages emphasize different things. English, for its part, is very concerned with time and sequencing, the order in which things happen. It's also focused on identifying the relationship between individuals. A neutral word for "the person I'm talking to" isn't strongly needed because we have many words to more clearly specify the person in question, e.g., "friend," "confidante," "colleague," "neighbor," that clarify the role of the speaker. –  The Raven Jun 10 '11 at 17:41
    
"Interlocutor" makes an appearance in this newspaper article, attesting to its currency: brownsvilleherald.com/articles/cartels-127626-drug-female.html –  The Raven Jun 12 '11 at 8:02

3 Answers 3

With regard to "interlocutor," it's the generic English term for "the person with whom I am speaking." Anything else is likely to be a nonce coinage, like, "conversant," or "discussant."

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try dialoguer

dia·loguer n. Usage Note: In recent years the verb sense of dialogue meaning "to engage in an informal exchange of views" has been revived, particularly with reference to communication between parties in institutional or political contexts.

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Here's a word that would be understood easily as conversational partner :

Discourser

As in, "The other discourser was Jane."

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+1 I like this better than "dialoguer" :) –  Paul Amerigo Pajo Jun 14 '11 at 18:18

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