In this sentence from my textbook, 会話 is not referring to the dialog as a whole but rather to a few sentences spoken by one of the sides in the conversation:


You can show someone that you understand them by repeating back to them the keywords of their statement along with んだ.

The definitions in my dictionary, and all the uses I've seen so far, refer to the entire conversation, so I was surprised. Is it a common usage? Are there dictionaries that mention this meaning?

  • 1
    I wonder if there is more than one 相手. In other words, is "them" plural here or or is it gender-neutral singular? Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 22:47
  • Nope there is only 1 相手.
    – max
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


I think this is a gray area. Strict people might say this use of 会話 is questionable, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's unnatural. Unlike 会話, 話 is clearly a loose word that can safely refer to both a long one (tale) and a short one (comment, statement). So, if you're worried, 相手のを聞いた後に or 相手の発言を聞いた後に is safer in this situation.

(By the way, I think I've seen "her chat" refer to an individual statement. It may have been questionable, but it made perfect sense in the context.)

  • I think it's very common to say "her chat" to refer to a single message e.g. on Facebook messenger. That is a recently acquired meaning. It wouldn't be used to refer to a verbal statement though (at least not yet :) )
    – max
    Commented Mar 12, 2023 at 19:56

Your understanding is correct. It's not a common usage. Irrespective of its length, 会話 involves at least two parties. For 相手の会話 to make sense (in the conventional usage of the word), 相手 must consist of multiple people and they must be having a conversation among themselves, as suggested in the comments.


I'm a beginner student in Japanese but my textbook (JFZ series) has sections called "New Phrases あたらしいかいわ", where the かいわ is hiragana for 会話.

The examples of the new phrases are: すみません, けっこう, おめでとう.

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