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  1. #1
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Hi!
    Yesterday this sentence was said by Jesse Jackson about Barack Obama.
    "Talk in a way to show your superiority not communicate." is the literal explanation that I found on this site, but I don't understand its meaning. Besides, the explanation itself seems to be mistakenly written.
    What does this expression mean, please?
    Thanks.
    Last edited by jctgf; 10-Jul-2008 at 23:23.

  2. #2
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    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: "talking down to black people"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    Hi!
    Yesterday this sentence was said by Jesse Jackson about Barack Obama. What does this expression mean, please?
    Thanks.
    (not a professeional teacher) Here's the OED's defintion:
    " to talk down (to an audience), to lower one's discourse to the assumed level of their intelligence;"

    So when someone talks down to someone else, the speaker is assuming their audience is not as intelligent as they are, and they simplify their language or vocabulary choice accordingly. Adults often talk down to infants, for example, and it's that sort of context which makes the phrase a negative one. To talk down to someone is considered insulting and demeaning. The indications are that Mr. Jackson intended it to be a very uncomplimentary assessment of Senator Obama's style. I can't think of a situation in which "talk down to" would be used with a positive connotation.

  3. #3
    jctgf is offline Key Member
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    Re: "talking down to black people"

    Thanks a lot, Stuart.
    I found an explanation on this site but the way it's been written seems to be wrong to me.
    "Talk in a way to show your superiority not communicate."
    Isn't something missing between "superiority" and "not"?
    Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    stuartnz is offline Senior Member
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    Re: "talking down to black people"

    Quote Originally Posted by jctgf View Post
    Thanks a lot, Stuart.
    I found an explanation on this site but the way it's been written seems to be wrong to me.
    "Talk in a way to show your superiority not communicate."
    Isn't something missing between "superiority" and "not"?
    Thanks again.

    I had to read that again, and I think you're right, it could have been written more clearly. It sounds like a definition of "talk down". It is being defined as "talk in a way to show your superiority, not to communicate." I agree with that definition. The intent of talking down is to demonstrate the talker's intellectual superiority. The intent is not to communicate with those being talked down to.
    Last edited by stuartnz; 10-Jul-2008 at 23:55. Reason: fix typos

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