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  1. #1
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default talk English/French

    Oxford 6/7th edition: Are they talking Swedish or Danish?
    Longman 4edition: talk (in) German/French etc

    Macmillan:
    talk English: (idiomatic) very informal to speak using less difficult words or expressions so that someone can understand what you are saying

    Cambridge says 'He talks French' is a wrong sentence.

    Could I ask native English teachers to explain how native speakers use the verb 'talk' with such words as English, French, etc? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    The use of "talk" and a language name is quite usual if somewhat colloquial

    Please talk English
    After three years I was able to talk Greek

    I cannot think why Cambridge should suggest "He talks French" is incorrect. Can you give the full reference?

  3. #3
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    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    I foresee Cambridge would rather suggest "he speaks French". It may seem more appropriate as to the capacity to use (speak) a language.

    Not a teacher at all. Only someone who can speak French.

  4. #4
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    I foresee Cambridge would rather suggest "he speaks French". It may seem more appropriate as to the capacity to use (speak) a language.

    Not a teacher at all. Only someone who can speak French.
    I agree that that's very likely the distinction they're making.

    ??Does he talk French? versus Is he talking [in] French?

  5. #5
    joham is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    The use of "talk" and a language name is quite usual if somewhat colloquial

    Please talk English
    After three years I was able to talk Greek

    I cannot think why Cambridge should suggest "He talks French" is incorrect. Can you give the full reference?
    Cambridge Learner's Dictionary:
    speak: Usage: speak or talk?
    Remember that you speak a language. You do not talk it.
    She speaks French.
    Not:She talks French.

  6. #6
    philadelphia's Avatar
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Cambridge Learner's Dictionary:
    speak: Usage: speak or talk?
    Remember that you speak a language. You do not talk it.
    She speaks French.
    Not:She talks French.
    In fact, neither Anglika nor the dictionary gets wrong. It depends on the context.

    I am talking about football with someone meaning more a conversation than I can speak a language or speak for someone - because of you get the capacity/knowing of him to speak for/about him/her.

    Not a native speaker though

  7. #7
    philadelphia's Avatar
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: talk English/French

    I have omited to say that talk/speak to me may be interchangeable on many contexts. It would definitely be wrong and odd to try to strictly/clearly differentiate both due to they cannot be.

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