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A question for Native English speakers

 
Greenhorn
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Hello, native English speaking rangers, could anyone tell me what it exactly means when people say "walk your walk", "talk your talk", "walk your talk", and "talk your walk"? Thanks.
 
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All of these phrases are just variations on "He walks the walk and talks the talk." This phrase means, more or less "He seems to be genuine." As in...

"Is Bob really concerned about endangered species?"

"Well, he walks the walk and talks the talk."
 
Larry Gao
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Thanks, Ernest. "walk the walk" is the same as "walk the talk" or "talk the walk"? But seems people use it differently. Still confused.
[ November 18, 2005: Message edited by: Larry Gao ]
 
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If you walk the talk and ...., then you do what you say and say what you do.
 
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"Talking the talk" means saying the "right" things, without necessarily acting in accordance with the words. On the other hand, "walking the walk" means acting the right way.

For instance, "When it comes to being a uniter instead of divider, President Bush has talked the talk but he hasn't walked the walk." The writer here may be implying that to get elected, the President said he would bring people of different ideologies together, an admirable goal. But once in office, he implemented a number of controversial policies that that have actually polarized people.

"Talking the walk" and "walking the talk" are just (supposedly) humorous, but otherwise meaningless, versions of these.
[ November 18, 2005: Message edited by: Ryan McGuire ]
 
(instanceof Sidekick)
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Do you suppose it came from something literal? "He says he's a cowboy ... yup he walks bowlegged awright!"
 
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I think this is also a colloquial expression -- meaning that there must be many native english speaking rangers here that newer heard of this expression.

Henry
 
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[Stan]: Do you suppose it came from something literal?

Personally, I doubt it. My guess is that it came from the fact that "walk" and "talk" rhyme. I first heard this in the context of a challenge: "you talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" (Translation: you say you can do something, but can you actually do it?) I would guess that whoever first came up with this, they probably came up with "talk the talk" first (since that seems more straightforward to me), then thought of "walk the walk" - whose meaning is a little less obvious, but it makes sense in contrast to "talk".
 
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Originally posted by Henry Wong:
I think this is also a colloquial expression -- meaning that there must be many native english speaking rangers here that newer heard of this expression.

Henry



Yes, you might be right, this is a regional expression - depends on the terrain and decibel levels of the region
 
Larry Gao
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Thanks, everyone. Now I am feeling good to know that I am learning something that even some native speakers never heard of
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by Larry Gao:
Thanks, everyone. Now I am feeling good to know that I am learning something that even some native speakers never heard of



No native English-speaker has heard all the expression English has. Unless your circle is limited, you always come across new ones. It happens all the time.
 
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Originally posted by Stuart Ash:
No native English-speaker has heard all the expression English has. Unless your circle is limited, you always come across new ones. It happens all the time.

Talking of not hearing all the words in the English language, I realised recently that I've probably never spoken out loud 50%+ of the words in my vocabulary. Most the words I know are from reading stuff, and don't come up often in conversation. This means that when I do say them, I often pronounce them completely wrong and get laughed at.

Now that is weird; to be told that a word I've said in my head loads of times is actually pronounced differently - the thought that all my previous internal conversations were, on some level, strangely flawed. For example, I recently said "intipodian" out loud for the first time, and pronounced it "anti-podian" (with the "i" as a "eee" sound, instead of a short "ih" sound). I was quickly corrected. All those previous times I've said the word in my head have been wrong! My entire linguistic universe needed shifting a small amount to one side.
[ November 22, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Talking of not hearing all the words in the English language, I realised recently that I've probably never spoken out loud 50%+ of the words in my vocabulary. Most the words I know are from reading stuff, and don't come up often in conversation. This means that when I do say them, I often pronounce them completely wrong and get laughed at.




It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him. - Bernard Shaw.

Replace Englishman by English-speaker.



Now that is weird; to be told that a word I've said in my head loads of times is actually pronounced differently - the thought that all my previous internal conversations were, on some level, strangely flawed. For example, I recently said "intipodian" out loud for the first time, and pronounced it "anti-podian" (with the "i" as a "eee" sound, instead of a short "ih" sound). I was quickly corrected. All those previous times I've said the word in my head have been wrong! My entire linguistic universe needed shifting a small amount to one side.



That's our lot! Again, it happens all the time.

[ November 22, 2005: Message edited by: Stuart Ash ]
[ November 22, 2005: Message edited by: Stuart Ash ]
 
Ryan McGuire
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
Talking of not hearing all the words in the English language, I realised recently that I've probably never spoken out loud 50%+ of the words in my vocabulary. Most the words I know are from reading stuff, and don't come up often in conversation. This means that when I do say them, I often pronounce them completely wrong and get laughed at.
...



Welcome to the club.

This is particularly nasty with foreign words and names. I'm glad my high school literature teacher pronounced both Socrates and Sophocles after we had read about them but before any of the students needed to say them in class. Apparently other teachers didn't do their class that same service (much to the amusement of the few students who did know the correct pronunciations).

Good old Sah-fo'-cls.

What are your favorite words in this area? (Not necessarily foreign words)
 
Ryan McGuire
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The original "walk" / "talk" question, brings up an interesting point. In that, "talking" is passive in comparison to the active "walking". However there's a different idiom where talking is more active.

In "Money talks; bull$h17 walks," walking implies leaving while talking means having the authority to take control.

Guy: I'm going to buy you the finest jewelry and take you on a cruise to Hawaii.
Girl: Yeah yeah yeah. Money talks, bull$h17 walks.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Ryan McGuire:
This is particularly nasty with foreign words and names. I'm glad my high school literature teacher pronounced both Socrates and Sophocles

I've found that the best clues to working out how to pronounce foreign names have come from watching football matches. Commentators for the BBC used to be particularly good at pronouncing foreign names as they had a special department to research into pronunciation. When the team I support signed Bulgarian goalkeeper Borislav Mikhailov and Polish defender Dariusz Wdowczyk, I had to learn some fairly odd pronunciations!

On the other hand, watching football would probably not help with the pronunciation of ancient Greek philosophers....or would it?

What is particularly off-throwing is when news readers change how they pronounce the names of foreign places. For years they pronounced the Polish capital as "Crack-ov", now its pronounced as "Crack-ow". Similarly Laos has changed from "Lay-oss" to "Laoo-s".

I wonder how well foreigners pronounce odd place names in English, such as Leicester, Slough, Reading, Greenwich and Southwark?
[ November 23, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
 
Stuart Ash
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Originally posted by Ryan McGuire:


Welcome to the club.

This is particularly nasty with foreign words and names. I'm glad my high school literature teacher pronounced both Socrates and Sophocles after we had read about them but before any of the students needed to say them in class. Apparently other teachers didn't do their class that same service (much to the amusement of the few students who did know the correct pronunciations).

Good old Sah-fo'-cls.

What are your favorite words in this area? (Not necessarily foreign words)



The problem with English-speakers is that we try to retain foreign pronunciations when we adopt a word into the language. This obviously doesn't work very well, and instead introduces all kinds of inconsistencies and difficulties. And since English is the most prolific word-borrower of all languages, this can make things quite messy.

There is no reason, for example, to pronounce envelope as on-velope, and so on with so many words. A similar contention can be mooted for foreign plurals "stadiums v/s stadia." -- why do we need to retain foreign pluralizers, when the good old -s does a good job.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Stuart Ash:
"stadiums v/s stadia."


Hmm. Should forums be fora?
 
Stuart Ash
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According to a rigid, grumpy latinist old-worlder, yes.

But forums are nowadays more common than fora.
 
Stuart Ash
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And that reminds me of a joke:

A professor of Latin once went to a bar:

"What'll it be?" asked the bartender.

"A martinus," said the professor.

"Don't you mean martini?"

"If I wanted more than one I'd ask for more than one. "


 
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