Written in readable, vivid, non-technical prose, this book presents the highly respected scholarly research that forms the foundation for Deborah Tannen's best-selling books about the role of language in human relationships. It provides a clear framework for understanding how ordinary conversation works to create meaning and establish relationships. A significant theoretical and methodological contribution to both linguistic and literary analysis, it uses transcripts of tape-recorded conversation to demonstrate that everyday conversation is made of features that are associated with literary discourse: repetition, dialogue, and details that create imagery. This second edition features a new introduction in which the author shows the relationship between this groundbreaking work and the research that has appeared since its original publication in 1989. In particular, she shows its relevance to the contemporary topic 'intertextuality', and provides a useful summary of research on that topic.