To me, as a non-native speaker, word "interlocutor" sounds more like a technical term from linguistics than something used in a casual conversation. Is this impression wrong? I can't seem to find any other synonym. I am looking for something less formal that can replace "interlocutor" in the following sentences:

  • My interlocutor on the phone said that...
  • His interlocutors all expressed an opinion that...
  • You are correct, interlocutor is rather fancy, technical, or high-flown. In informal speech I might say speaker. – stangdon Feb 10 '18 at 13:42
  • Few people would know what an "interlocutor" is, and what it does. I imagine most would think it's an automobile part or something that belongs inside a computer. Just say "the person I was talking to" – Andrew Feb 10 '18 at 17:35

Your instincts are correct, I'm a native English speak living in England and have never heard this word used. There's no reason that this word cannot be used, the definition fits the context in which you are using it, I just have not heard it used in common language. I found this googling, maybe it can be applied to formal speaking or theater arts.

  • My interlocutor on the phone said that...
  • His interlocutors all expressed an opinion that...

The definition reads "a person who takes part in a conversation or dialogue." I would therefore use

  • My counterpart on the phone said
  • The person I was speaking to said
  • The person on the other end of the phone said
  • The person I was conversing with said
  • The speaker on the phone said
  • His contact said via telecon
  • His colleagues all expressed an opinion that
  • Everyone he spoke to expressed an opinion that
  • His close friends expressed an opinion that
  • His confidants expressed an opinion that
  • Those he conversed with/ questioned/ asked expressed an opinion that
  • The conversation participants all expressed an opinion that
  • His advisers expressed an opinion that

Thinking about it, in common English, the "person on the phone" or "people who are canvassed for an opinion" are often referred to specifically, in the context of the conversation. For example, if it is an informal consultation the people participating in the conversation would be "friends", if formal "colleagues". We could use "person who speaks" but even if it a stranger they would likely be classified, like "telemarketer" or "cold caller".

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I like Ariane's synonyms above; probably several of them meet your needs: meaning partner in a conversation in a more casual way.

I, myself, do tend to use the word in somewhat everyday speech. I stumbled on your question while looking for an alternative for a different reason: I wanted a word for interviewee (which I had already used too often in the passage I was writing) and was inclined to use interlocutor, but felt that in a conversation where one person is asking most of the questions, that person would be the interlocutor -- but I was exactly wrong about that, apparently, at least according to this other page I stumbled upon, https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Socratic_Methods#Choosing_the_Interlocutor: according to their account of the Socratic method:

In its purest form, questions (and only questions) are used to arouse curiosity and at the same time serve as a logical, incremental, step-wise guide that enables students (Socrates referred to the partner as the “interlocutor”) to figure out a complex topic or issue with their own thinking and insights.

My misapprehension as to the word's subtler meaning was probably due to my confusing it unconsciously with 'inquisitor'.

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