Conversation piece. So how many ways are there to ‘talk’ in French?

Following on from the recent amazing turnout for French conversation (there were eighteen of us), I thought I’d write a few words about that particular activity.

Chatting, talking, discussing – how do you choose which to use?  Some words floated to the top of my mind from old books we read at school – bavarder, causer – I’ve no idea why these stuck! What is the difference between all the words that we could use in French for what I and good number of others like to spend alternate Monday evenings doing?

Here’s a selection, along with their meanings (from Collins Robert Dictionary). The meanings still don’t really answer my question, so please let me know how they really vary in everyday French usage if you can.

Discuter – to discuss or debate, you could use debattre.  You may be haggling over the price of something.

‘Discuter le coup’ is have a natter or chat

Comminiquer – is more to pass on information

Parler = bavarder. To talk/speak – in a physical sense or to express thoughts ‘parler franchement’

Bavarder = papoter – chatting, talking

Causer – to chat, to talk

Jaser – to gossip, twitter, babble, often of a child, or a bird

Médire de qn. – to speak ill of someone/ to malign

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