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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy

    • Join Date: Jan 2012
    • Posts: 141
    #1

    Talk a language?

    English teacher

    I've heard a native speaker say, "I talk French and German."
    I'm wondering if it is a mistake or simply a less common way to say that one can
    speak a language.
    Could you help me?

    PS. I've been learning a lot from natives on this forum, by far more than on heaps of often useless grammar books. Invaluable living language. Thank you very much for your helpful advice and kindness.
    WW

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,862
    #2

    Re: Talk a language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Whitman View Post
    English teacher

    I've heard a native speaker say, "I talk French and German."
    I'm wondering if it is a mistake or simply a less common way to say that one can
    speak a language.
    Could you help me?

    PS. I've been learning a lot from natives on this forum, by far more than on heaps of often useless grammar books. Invaluable living language. Thank you very much for your helpful advice and kindness.
    WW
    The more natural (and, in my opinion, correct) form is "I speak + language". We do use "to talk" but not normally when we are referring to ability. We use it when we are actually saying that we held a conversation in a particular language.

    "Today, I met someone I studied French and German at university with twenty years ago. For old times' sake, we talked in French for half an hour and then in German for 10 minutes. Then we went back to English."

    When referring to ability, I would always use "I speak Spanish", "They speak Italian very well" etc.

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