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DIALOGUE

DIALOGUE AmE also dialog. A traditional semi-technical term for a CONVERSATION, especially if it is formal, or is presented in WRITING or print according to the conventions of drama and fiction.

Dialogue in drama

The playwrights of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods (late 16c, early 17c) were the first to develop a full set of conventions for writing and presenting dialogue in English. Their use of dialogue, especially in blank verse, followed the classical tradition, in which speakers take turns to make lengthy, set-piece speeches, regardless of whether they are at ease in their homes or surrounded by enemies on the field of battle. Initial English attempts at dialogue did not therefore differ much from the stylized conversations of Homer's Iliad, except that at times the conversation of their characters could be short, sharp, and close to real life, as in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (3. 2):1st PLEBEIAN.
Me thinkes there is much reason in his sayings.
4th PLEBEIAN.
If thou consider rightly of the matter.Cæsar ha's had great wrong.
3rd PLEBEIAN. Ha's hee not Masters?
I feare there will a worse come in his place.
Prose dialogue was often reserved for less elevated moments and characters in a play, such as the comic exploitation of kinds of English that were remote from the London stage, as with the Irishman Mackmorrice in Henry V (3. 3):GOWER. How now, Captaine Mackmorrice, haue you quit the Mynes? haue the Pioners giuen o're?
MACKMORRICE. By Chrish Law tish ill done: the work ish giue ouer, the Trompet sound the Retreat. By my Hand I sweare, and my fathers Soule, the Worke ish ill done: it ish giue ouer: I would haue blowed vp the Towne, so Chrish saue me law, in an houre. O tish ill done, tish ill done: by my Hand tish ill done.
Prose was the common medium of drama by the end of the 17c, although Dryden and others wrote tragedies in heroic couplets. Prose was considered to be more realistic than verse and verse has never again been the principal medium of dramatic dialogue in English. In 18c prose drama, the presentation of turn-taking continued in much the same classical style as the longer speeches of Hamlet and Othello: for example, the following excerpt from Sheridan's comedy, The Rivals (1775):SIR ANTHONY. Why, Mrs. Malaprop, in moderation, now, what would you have a woman know?
MRS. MALAPROP. Observe me, Sir Anthony.—I would by no means wish a daughter of mine to be a progeny of learning; I don't think so much learning becomes a young woman; for instance, I would never let her meddle with Greek, or Hebrew, or Algebra, or Simony, or Fluxions, or Paradoxes, or such inflammatory branches of learning neither would it be necessary for her to handle any of your mathematical, astronomical, diabolical instruments.

Dialogue in novels

The conventions of dramatic scripts required each speaker to have a separate section, for easy consultation. The conventions of prose, as seen in the novels of the 17–18c, did not follow the theatre, but used long, unbroken paragraphs within which entire conversations could be set, as in Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones (1749):
“You don't imagine, I hope,” cries the squire, “that I have taught her any such things.” “Your ignorance, brother,” returned she, “as the great Milton says, almost subdues my patience.” “D—n Milton!” answered the squire: “if he had the impudence to say so to my face, I'd lent him a douse, thof he was never so great a man. Patience! An you come to that, sister, I have more occasion of patience, to be used like an overgrown schoolboy, as I am by you. Do you think no one hath any understanding, unless he hath been about at court?”In this style, such formulas as answered the squire and returned she were well established and considerable flexibility was available, as with the dramatists, to capture special kinds of SPEECH. By the 19c, conversation was often still embedded in PARAGRAPHS, but a style similar to the dramatic script was beginning to open up these great blocks of print and speakers were often given paragraphs to themselves, turn for turn. Emily Brontë uses the ‘open-plan’ approach in Wuthering Heights (1847) in a passage that, like Shakespeare, uses dialogue to present dialect:
“Have you found Heathcliff, you ass?” interrupted Catherine. “Have you been looking for him, as I ordered?”“I sud more likker look for th' horse,” he replied. “It 'ud be to more sense. Bud, I can look for norther horse nur man of a neeght loike this—as black as t' chimbley! und Heathcliff's noan t' chap to coom at my whistle—happen he'll be less hard o' hearing wi' ye!By the end of the 19c, fictional dialogue had become more or less stable. Writers had become accustomed to paragraph-by-paragraph turntaking and felt secure enough in their own and their readers' ability to move down a page of short paragraphs to dispense increasingly with such aids as he said and she answered in every paragraph. Novelists became more skilful in presenting the registers and varieties of speech; dialect, previously used mainly for comic or eccentric effect, was given by writers like Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy to serious and even tragic characters. From the late 19c to the present day, fictional conversation has generally been modelled closely on real life and used to exhibit characters' actions, styles, and attributes, as in this excerpt from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story ‘The Five Orange Pips’ (in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1892):‘I have come for advice.’
‘That is easily got.’
‘And help.’
‘That is not always so easy.’
‘I have heard of you, Mr. Holmes. I heard from Major Prendergast how you saved him in the Tankerville Club Scandal.’
‘Ah, of course. He was wrongfully accused of cheating at cards.’
‘He said that you could solve anything.’
‘He said too much.’
‘That you are never beaten.’
‘I have been beaten four times—three times by men and once by a woman.’
Once such a flexible set of conventions was established, it became possible to experiment with other possibilities, in some cases abandoning entirely the system of QUOTATION MARKS built up in the tradition of fiction and trying something closer to the unadorned dramatic script, as in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916: ch. 5):—Try to be one of us, repeated Davin. In your heart you are an Irishman but your pride is too powerful.
—My ancestors threw off their language and took another, Stephen said. They allowed a handful of foreigners to subject them. Do you fancy I am going to pay in my own life and person debts they made? What for?
—For our freedom, said Davin. … Ireland first, Stevie. You can be a poet or mystic after.
—Do you know what Ireland is? asked Stephen with cold violence. Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow.
By and large, however, the experimentation has been less with quotation marks, turn-taking devices, and white space, and more with content: for example, in V. S. Naipaul's A Flag on the Island (1967), ‘outlandish’ speakers of English, remote descendants of Mackmorrice, turn up in a new guise. Fully conforming to the conventions he learned at school, Naipaul nonetheless uses the time-honoured techniques of English literary dialogue to make a point of his own about the trials of being a writer using a language with conventions far removed from everyday life:
‘You know, I have been doing a lot of thinking. You know, Frankie, I begin to feel that what is wrong with my books is not me, but the language I use. You know, in English, black is a damn bad word. You talk of a black deed. How then can I write in this language?’‘I have told you already. You are getting too black for me.’‘What we want is our own language. I intend to write in our own language. You know this patois we have. Not English, not French, but something we have made up. This is our own. You were right. Damn those lords and ladies. Damn Jane Austen. This is ours, this is what we have to work with.’

Writers of dialogue will always have the problem of accommodating the many sounds of English to the 26 letters of the alphabet. Deviant spelling and typographical contrivance are used to compensate for the inadequate and inconsistent relationship between the spoken and the written. Features of speech can sometimes be shown by such means, but usually they continue to be managed through such ad-hoc authorial formulas as he stated emphatically, she whispered, Sabina said huskily, and Drake answered, slurring his words.

See ASIDE, COCKNEY, DIRECT AND INDIRECT SPEECH, LANGUAGE TEACHING, LITERATURE, PUNCTUATION, TALK.

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Dialogue

Dialogue. Religions historically have been traditional discriminators within humanity, sacralizing identity by force of doctrine and culture, and establishing (indeed, being) systems for the protection and transmission of highly valued, non-negotiable information.

But in recent decades ‘dialogue’ has come to be a word in frequent currency among theologians—not the Socratic-style dialogue which assumed and sought the single thread of reason and logic, but a much more perplexing engagement with the authority and interrelation of truth-systems claiming disparate, if not rival, sanction in and by the transcendent.

The Vatican Secretariat for Non-Christian Religions, the Unit on Witness and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, and the Committee for Relations with People of Other Faiths of the British Council of Churches, have published studies in the theology of dialogue and guidelines for relations with other faiths and with the ethnic groups which hold them. Observers from other faiths, firmly excluded from the 1961 Assembly of the World Council of Churches, were officially invited and welcomed at its 1983 Assembly in Vancouver.

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dialogue

di·a·logue / ˈdīəˌläg; -ˌlôg/ (also di·a·log) • n. conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie: the book consisted of a series of dialogues | passages of dialogue. ∎  a discussion between two or more people or groups, esp. one directed toward exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem: the U.S. would enter into a direct dialogue with Vietnam | interfaith dialogue. • v. [intr.] take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem: he stated that he wasn't going to dialogue with the guerrillas. ∎  [tr.] provide (a movie or play) with a dialogue. PHRASES: dialogue of the deaf a discussion in which each party is unresponsive to what the others say.

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dialogue

dialogue.
1. Vocal work, mainly from medieval times to 17th cent., in which echo, alternation, or contrast suggested spoken dialogue.

2. Spoken dialogue is used in some types of opera, e.g. Fr. opéra-comique, Ger. Singspiel, Sp. zarzuela, and Eng. ballad opera (and the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan). In Beethoven's Fidelio there is spoken dialogue and melodrama. In some cases spoken dialogue has been replaced by accompanied recitative comp. by someone else (e.g. Guiraud for Bizet's Carmen). There are examples of a brief spoken passage used in opera to great dramatic effect, e.g. in Britten's Peter Grimes.

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dialogue

dialogue XIII. — OF. dialoge (mod. dialogue) — L. dialogus — Gr. diálogos conversation, discourse, f. dialégesthai converse (see DIALECT).

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Dialogue

Dialogue

See Models; Science and Religion, Methodologies; Science and Religion, Models and Relations

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dialogue

dialogueagog, befog, blog, bog, clog, cog, dog, flog, fog, frog, grog, hog, Hogg, hotdog, jog, log, nog, prog, slog, smog, snog, sprog, tautog, tog, trog, wog •hangdog • lapdog • seadog • sheepdog •watchdog • bulldog • gundog • firedog •underdog • pettifog • pedagogue •demagogue • synagogue • sandhog •hedgehog • warthog • groundhog •roadhog • backlog • Kellogg • weblog •eclogue •epilogue (US epilog) •prologue (US prolog) • footslog •ideologue •dialogue (US dialog) • duologue •Decalogue •analog, analogue (US analog) •monologue • apologue •catalogue (US catalog) • travelogue •eggnog • leapfrog • bullfrog •Taganrog •golliwog, polliwog •phizog • Herzog

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