verb (used without object), conversated, conversating. Nonstandard except in some dialects.
to have a conversation; converse; talk.
The use of conversate has soared since 2000, mostly in speech and in written records of speech. The term is a back formation from conversation, created by dropping the suffix -ion, and adding -e, to produce a verb form.
Since it has essentially the same meaning as the more common and frequently used verb converse, the term conversate has been condemned in some circles as an unnecessary nonword. And, because the term occurs mostly among Blacks and Latinos, some discussions have become heated and impassioned, turning the word into a badge (both positive and negative) of a person’s class and education.
Conversate reminds us that discussions about modern English must take into account the different types of English spoken in our diverse culture, rather than fixating on “correct” formal usage. When all is said and done, however, the term broadly remains nonstandard English.
“The connections [the seventeen-year-old Latina] made between her personal growth and her interactions with one of her teachers were very powerful and the audience at the Ivy League school were in awe of her. All but one, the one who had only listened to her use of non-standard English as she stated that ‘in our class we “conversate” with the teacher and that has helped me in my work with adults.’“
—Xae Alicia Reyes, “Why Can’t We ‘Conversate’?: Silencing and Alienation of Latinos and African Americans in School Settings“ Black and Brown Communication: Latino and African American Conflict and Covergence in Mass Media (2003)
“It’s not about a word at all. It's about us. It's about excellence. No one is saying you must speak and act correctly at all times, but unfortunately, lots of us don't know when the hell those times are anymore or exactly what speaking and acting correctly mean. And worse, they don't care.“
—Jam Donaldson, Conversate Is Not a Word: Getting Away from Ghetto (2010)