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What is an English noun for whom you have a conversation with?

I expect a word like 'counterpart.' I want a simple word for it to name a model in my web application.

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    interlocutor or conversant – user31341 Apr 12 '14 at 3:31
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    @jlovegren: Hmm why conversant? That does not mean interlocutor to me? – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica Apr 12 '14 at 3:36
  • @Cerberus I did manage to find it used in this way in COCA: Take care not to let saliva escape with your words, and do not let spittle fly into the faces of those with whom you converse. To prevent such an accident, do not approach your conversant too near; but engage in conversation at a reasonable distance. (USA Today mag. 2008) – user31341 Apr 12 '14 at 4:01
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    interlocutor fits; conversant is best avoided. – Kris Apr 12 '14 at 5:50
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    English has unexpected inadequacies. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 12 '14 at 6:29
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Perhaps it would work for you to use something as simple as "Speaker", with an identifier if necessary, e.g. Speaker A, Speaker B etc.

"Conversant" is problematic because it has another, more common usage as an adjective (meaning familiar with). "Interlocutor" is correct, but a tad unwieldy with its five syllables, and is not in everyday usage.

Of course, as it's for a web application not an English Grammar exam, you are free to come up with your own word.

To distinguish between two participants in a conversation, you could call one the "converser" and the other the "conversee"; or "speaker" and speakee" ... these follow on from constructions like "interviewer" and "interviewee".

I'll be interested to see what you decide to use.

  • Thanks! Your points are all good. I decided to go with "partner", because in my case the concept is "the other person in the conversation (not you)", it doesn't matter who initiated the conversation. But words like "converser" or "conversee" are interesting nonetheless. – kenn Apr 14 '14 at 0:45

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