The discussions in this book assume the reader has more than a conversational knowledge of ANSI C programming. This book is not a tutorial on the entire language. It is aimed at the advanced beginner to intermediate-level programmer who feels relatively comfortable writing C programs but who has a distance to travel when it comes to the topic of pointers.

What exactly do you think that means? I particularly don't understand how the word conversational is used here. Conversational usually refers to something that has to do with verbal conversation.


Conversational knowledge of a subject literally means that you know enough about something to talk with others about it. Not in academic detail, but a "light" or "social" conversation.

As a prerequisite of a book, it means a basic knowledge - so that you can follow the author's "speech" and further explanations.


I would say conversation indicates a general knowledge among the population in general. For example, if you were with a group of friends, you would not talk with them (have a conversation) about detailed C programming, because some of them will have no idea what you are talking about.

So, general conversation. You could use the definition of conversation:

1) the act or an instance of talking together (; specif.,) 1a) familiar talk; verbal exchange of ideas, opinions, etc.


5) (obsolete) familiarity based on study or use


It means that you should know at least the basics of the C language before starting the book.

  • 1
    Well, duh! You know, that is kind of obvious. – Michael Rybkin Aug 20 '15 at 19:19
  • Well, that's exactly the meaning in that context, "basic", apologies if I said a truism to you. – st4ck4nd Aug 20 '15 at 20:45

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