Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. Unregistered
    Guest
    #1

    Read or Say

    Tricky one that I need to clarify for my daughter in Terminale at Lycee:

    Give a cartoon with speech balloons, do the "balloons read" or do the "balloons say"?

    Daughter has challenged the teacher who INSISTS that it is "balloons read" but daughter argues that it is "balloons say". I tend to agree with my daughter but ................

    Anyone help?

    Lucinda

  2. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #2

    Re: Read or Say

    Lucinda, all three of you are right in a way. The verb say means to tell, to show, to indicate:
    Q: What does your watch say?
    A: It reads 12:05 a.m., and it also says/tells us it's 12:05 a.m.
    In that context, read and say appear to be synonyms, but they aren't really.
      • The sign/speech bubble reads refers to the words.
      • The sign/speech bubble says refers to meaning.

    Here's another example, a stop sign reads STOP, which is similar but not the same as what it says or tells us: to stop. Consider also this, a sign in a school zone depicting two children walking doesn't have any words but it says or tells us that we need to slow down.

    In short, the verbs read and say look like synonyms, which is why speakers often use them so, but they really aren't the same. They express different meanings.


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 7
    #3

    Re: Read or Say

    Thanks. I'm the daughter in Lycee (Serena) and I posted here about this too.

    So can I clarify? As the speech bubbles had only symbols in them, they can't be read. The symbols are, therefore, saying something.

    So to use the word say rather than read is more appropriate.

    Serena

  3. Soup's Avatar
    VIP Member
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 5,882
    #4

    Re: Read or Say

    Quote Originally Posted by Serenafaye View Post
    So can I clarify? As the speech bubbles had only symbols in them, they can't be read. The symbols are, therefore, saying something.
    You can read a person's face; read a painting. There are signs there too, even though they are not words.


    Quote Originally Posted by Serenafaye
    So to use the word say rather than read is more appropriate.
    It depends. From a traditional perspective, if you want to talk about what the symbols mean, then use the verb say, and if you want to talk about what the symbols are, then use the verb read.
    Speech bubble

    Stan: I could eat a horse!

    => The words say/tell us that Stan is hungry.

    => The words read "I could eat a horse!"

    From a non-traditional perspective, speakers use read and say synonymously:
    Speech bubble

    Stan: I could eat a horse!

    => It says/reads "I could eat a horse!"
    Serena, see also post #6 on your other thread.


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 3
    #5

    Re: Read or Say

    In this scenario your teacher is correct. The qualification depends on the context and the two; "say" and "read" cannot be used interchangeably.

    For instance, the speech bubble is an object of conversation that is depicted with bubbles in cartoons therefore it only becomes "say" if there is a character involved, e.g. "What did captain Crunch say?". For this scenario there is no mention of character but only the medium of conversation which is the speech bubbles, therefore it becomes "read".

    Think of the speech bubble as an object that has no vocal capabilities like posters, billboards, traffic signs or even a book. We never say, "What does the book title say?", more specifically we say "What does the book title read?". Again because these are objects and cannot express themselves.

    The word "say" is easier to explain since it's usually an expression and is often vocalised, thus in my previous example; a book cannot talk,but a character in a cartoon can talk therefore it becomes "say".

    Don't be confused by the fact that it is a speech bubble, because there are no characters from which the speech is occurring from, treat it as an object such as a sign, book or billboard with no vocal capabilities of its own.

Similar Threads

  1. Can one learn to read faster?
    By Will in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 32
    Last Post: 27-Nov-2009, 01:43
  2. 'so much read about' or 'read so much about'
    By Agnes in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 26-Feb-2007, 15:18
  3. read me
    By Humble in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21-Aug-2006, 20:03
  4. I cant read Cursed English Script
    By medya in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 13-Jul-2005, 13:07
  5. how to read and understand what i have read
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-Aug-2003, 23:28

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •