This study described ways in which primary school children maintained a conversation with adults in situations of conceptual or linguistic difficulty. 85 interviews were conducted with children between the ages of 5 and 11 years. The data consist of selected transcripts of these conversations. Three routines of maintaining conversations are demonstrated: linguistic, thinking, and play routines. In a proposed model of conversation the communicative capacity is viewed as including general knowledge which in turn includes linguistic knowledge. These three components are related to the conversational routines discussed in the paper.

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