1

When I was writing this question on Movies & TV SE I was really tempted to use the word dialogue to describe the interaction between two characters. However the problem is that in the described scene one character says only one short sentence and the other doesn't say anything.

Dialogue (in a book, play or film) is defined as:

a conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or film

This means that this kind of interaction shouldn't be called a dialogue. However it's not a monologue either.

Can the word dialogue be used to describe a short interaction between characters with only one of them talking?

  • 2
    You might want to add a modificator to clarify the nuance of meaning you wish to convey. E.g. a "unilateral dialogue" or "one-sided dialogue" or "one-way dialogue". – Felix Goldberg Oct 10 '16 at 9:36
  • @Felix Goldberg You might want to modify 'modificator'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 10 '16 at 9:57
  • 2
    The bartender was listening to his only customer's, of the night, long and arduous monologue. – Blessed Geek Oct 10 '16 at 10:23
  • 1
    the simple answer "Can the word dialogue be used to describe a short interaction between characters with only one of them talking?" is YES, in actual everyday filmmaking, you'd say "dialogue" (essentially meaning, come to think of it "there are two actors in the scene, coverage of both") even if one doesn't do much talking. – Fattie Oct 10 '16 at 11:35
  • 1
    Graffito and Blessed: your example of "monologue" relates to when you (rarely, or humorously) use "monologue" regarding humans interacting. (So, my wife will tell me "stop monologuing!" if I'm being long-winded.) The question here is only regarding terms of art within filmmaking (or playwriting). – Fattie Oct 10 '16 at 11:43
1

While one is talking the other may be responding non-verbally. So, in my opinion there is some sort of conversation/ dialogue, or duologue as you please.

  • 1
    Yes, as mentioned above I'd say that YES, in actual everyday filmmaking, you'd use the term "dialogue" (essentially meaning: "there are two actors in the scene, coverage of both") even if one doesn't do much talking. In the OP's question of how are these terms used in film/plays, a "monologue" is more a formalism where "a 'speech' is inserted in the work". (Consider say the "villain's monologue".) That's different from a dialogue where, as it happens, one isn't talking much. – Fattie Oct 10 '16 at 12:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.