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Conversation Constructions in Day-to-Day Life among People: A Study of Common Sense Practices

Vanita Chawadha*

Department of Psychology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

*Corresponding Author:
Vanita Chawadha
Department of Psychology,
Jawaharlal Nehru University,
New Delhi,

Received: 07-Jul-2023, Manuscript No. JSS-23-105177; Editor assigned: 10-Jul-2023, Pre QC No. JSS-23-105177 (PQ); Reviewed: 24-Jul-2023, QC No. JSS-23-105177; Revised: 27-Dec-2023, Manuscript No. JSS-23-105177 (R); Published: 04-Jan-2024, DOI: 10.4172/jss.10.1.006

Citation: Chawadha V. Conversation Constructions in Day-to-Day Life among People: A Study of Common Sense Practices. RRJ Soc Sci. 2024;10:006.

Copyright: © 2024 Chawadha V. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The paper studies antithesis repercussions of structural-functional approaches of conversational practices in a daily life. It is a straightforward ethno-methodological exposition presented by Harold Garfinkel and Alfred Schutz.

There are total four sections in this paper. First section is mainly focused on a term ‘ethnomethodology’ as noticed by Harold Garfinkel. This is contrary to meta narratives theory to discuss daily activities of an individual. It is an important to study the acts/functions performed by an individual in a day to day life, to see a meaningful understanding through situations. Second section is discussed about relationship between ethnomethodology and linguistics via ethnomethodology and symbolic interactionism. Third section begins with the correlation between ethnomethodology and linguistic phenomenology then it shows few cases of common understanding language practices in Hindi. Fourth section concludes that language based social activities are subject matter to ethnomethodology.


Ethnomethodology; Garfinkel; Schutz and Husserd; Symbolic interactionism; Antithesis


The world which consists of everyday activities in terms of conversational relations among people is the product of either ‘set of moral order’ or it could possibly be defined under ‘natural facts of life scenes’. In that context, for sociologists, it is easiest to understand familiar backgrounds of different groups of people irrespective of their nature, habits and professions. Moreover, common sense and understanding of people is reflected through defined agreement to join the task and put their efforts to accomplish it. In itself, an individual is one type of object like others in the physical world. Like each object, an individual gets experienced according to outside world where she performs her activities. Through experience, she understands the network of relations between different objects and enriches her stock of knowledge. In real sense, what happens is that people actually use language for daily purposes without knowing its grammar or linguistic structure and that shows them a social reality. They particularly aware of an ordinary language that might be common that is expressed through indexical [1].

Thus, we observe that each individual is significant from social point of view because she addresses herself and contributes via social activities. In other words, it is pointed out that this is competence of an individual to perform such activities. While she does it then she comes to know about ‘what is happening around her’ and sees possible ways of organized her actions with respect to others. However, it is remembered that an individual usually utters indexical such as i, you, he, she, it, and they etc., during conversation. Moreover, it is found that conversation seems a practical activity where there is an important of ‘saying’/‘telling’ with lexica syntactic knowledge. Based on such knowledge, if person x greets to y then what will happen?? Could we assume any answer?? A simple answer is that x will receive the same in the normal circumstances nonetheless it is also possible that y will not provide any answer or it may take some time and could try to evaluate the whole situation. One observation dictates that the event of conversation between x and y is common sense oriented and on the other hand, it is sort of a reflexive activity [2].

Literature Review

Ethnomethodology: Situational ethnomethodology and linguistic ethnomethodology

As we have already pointed out that indexical expressions of an individual are significant in different contexts and the contexts are equal to situations. An individual or actor who involves into such settings is always determined to reach out the meanings. During the context or situation, she does activity of arguing, ordering, requesting, complaining etc., and this is merely near to speech acts. It is strongly pointed out that the world where an individual life is only a place of regulating her regular activities. In fact, she is part of any organization or carries any profession or position as per knowledge and experience that is only time bound performances for accomplishing daily duties or activities followed by required situations.

Related to the tradition of situational and linguistic ethnomethodology, we must introduce Douglas who has carefully noticed an individual and her daily life activities are closely associated with situations and it could be investigated under the domain of ethnomethodology [3].

Further, he made a slight distinction between situational ethnomethodology and linguistic ethnomethodology. For him, linguistic ethnomethodology deals with clear and visible verbal arguments, statements of an individual that was studied by Sacks, Sudnow and others in their writings. While situational ethnomethodology primarily deals with the events those existed according to situations and an individual try to extract meanings from them. It is a direct connection between an individual and meanings or senses of the things or objects associated during the events in terms of situations [4].

In contrast to linguistic ethno-methodologists, we are particularly interested in those ‘taken for granted’ social activities that done at regular basis and would like to know about working sense or perception of an individual behind them. Shall we say that it is a kind of self-governed set up that commonly adopted by everyone? Or an individual is becoming trained in a way to do act accordingly basis on encountering daily similar types of events. Otherwise, we may say that this is a meaningful common understanding that no doubt takes a disciplined form via system of daily actions [5].

Sometimes, it is seen that events oriented or situation based research in ethnomethodology, is only a sub-type of ‘symbolic inter-actionism’. And it is proposed that an individual with others, a part of physical world where various symbols or objects are already existed and probably when she interacts with them then meanings take place under defined situations. However, it is more interesting to us when we try to see that how does it work? And later, we may study of those ways or methodology of an individual or their interactions within a society, physical world or in environment and so on [6].

Ethnomethodology and linguistic phenomenology: Analyzing few cases in Hindi

We live around the objects and signs so far. A sign contains two types of interpretations such as ‘significant function’ and ‘expressive function’. One function helps us to identify ourselves and it is particularly related to our own while the second one brings us into society, introduce us with others and so on. Signs or objects are something that reflected through a language and they are part of physical world. As usual, we may take three fundamental of language which serves the real world in itself. Few words such as ‘earthquake’, ‘tsunami’, etc., create shivering or sensation in us if the phenomena has already happened in the past. Next, the use of words is not merely names of the objects however they give specific identity and provide reality to the same object. Third, the power of words is that we can assume or produce unexpected outcomes by saying that “I do” or “I will definitely do” etc [7].


According to phenomenology, an individual’s mind is directly linked with the outside things or objects. We perceive the reality of things when we see them and also active our thinking, reasoning, and also produce judgements to prove our intentions. Another argument is that our expressions and thoughts are not separated from each other. We often try to visualize around the objects through our senses and then find the connection between them. We get experiences with our living senses and capture the physical world. Similarly, we know that a language is an effective tool for us to utter something and then experience the same according to different ways. In this case, we have habits of constructing our experiences bases on phonetics, syntax, semantics and etc., in a language [8].

About a language, Saussure’s motivation in the sign which has emerged as signifier and signified is likely a set of binary interpretation. And moreover, it is found that approaches of (synchronic and diachronic) for language might also be shared with phenomenology and for Kruszewski, language in itself a general phenomenon that must be investigated scientifically.

He tried to see this discipline under full freedom to establish it individually and to realize its existences. He had strongly pointed out that it would be ‘a specific sort of phenomenology of language’ under general science approach to a language [9].

On behalf of this discussion, we are enough capable to study few aspects of our daily life conversation that seems common and usual. We agree with the suggestion of indexical expressions of Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology where we normally begin with self-addressing as ‘I’, and ask to someone as ‘YOU’ and definitely choose a topic at another pronoun as ‘IT’ in very common or simple talk. We cannot escape ourselves from indexical when we are in conversation. Secondly, we thoroughly use a language (no matter this is mixture of signs, symbols, verbal, non-verbal etc.) nonetheless it helps us to draw our own world and internalize it by daily or regular rule ordering activities. Thirdly, we have to evaluate the form and use of few words (e.g. chaye-bye, khana-wana, baat-but, jagda-vagda, kaam-kum, khilaya-vilaya, mila- mula kar etc) in Hindi from both points of views [10].

By linguistics

• By morphologically, such forms look like independent and bound morphemes.
• Syntactically, they occur by infinite forms.
• Semantically, they are partial reduplicate.
• Pragmatically, they hide or implicit something which is not there.

By ethnomethodology

• Seeing why and how they produce.
• Contextual interpretation.
• Situational domain.
• Intending or not.
• Practical way of representation.
• Regularized activity.
• Behind the common sense.

For instance, when Hindi speaker utters as chaye-bye then it means not to talk about only tea but it includes some snacks also at that time. Correspondingly, baat-but in itself not to discuss a single matter but also seeking ways or solutions related to any incomplete task. Another important such as khilaya-vilaya does not mean to talk about variety of food but to know behaviour or attitude while serving the food [11].

Practically, if we see all such instances of Hindi, they are very common to those speakers which they fluently speak Hindi. Even they are habituated to use them according to context or situation. However, they never elaborate hide sense behind each instance to each other while they utter at a time. Then we would like to put some queries here:

Q. What is this??
Q. Why don’t they require any grammar for this??
Q.How do they smoothly perform during conversation??

We only find a single answer is that they have got enough practice on daily basis conversational activities [12]. And they have learnt when and how to use each word or sentence in a specific context. Even linguistically, we can collect formal or structure based evidences of such practice nonetheless, that is common sense, common understanding and common agreement of the users to experience the surrounded world by their day-by-day common activities [13].


We have found that an individual is strongly preoccupied with indexical knowledge even formal grammar structure also inbuilt in her. She is aware of a language tool to employ it for everyday communication. She is around the world with numerous objects and decides their names and identifies them as per need and requirement. Even she lives in a network of professions, relations, commitments, promises and targets and goals however she is participating in her daily life activities. With this regularity, she knows about contexts, situations and about exchange of ideas, views accordingly. Sometimes, it is surprised to notice that she develops high level common understanding by performing the same activity again and again.