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ما الفرق بين "تتكلم" و "تتحدث"

English translation: “speak” versus “talk,” "tell," "inform," “relate,” and "report”

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:تكلم و تحدث
English translation:“speak” versus “talk,” "tell," "inform," “relate,” and "report”
Entered by: Fuad Yahya
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16:28 Nov 23, 2001
Arabic to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics
Arabic term or phrase: ما الفرق بين "تتكلم" و "تتحدث"
I would like to know when to use either words. The more details the better.
If the sentence include the word "talk" in what context would you say تتكلم/يتكلم
and in what context would you say تتحدث/يتحدث?
Thank you
Mona Helal
Local time: 02:04
“speak,” on the one hand, and “talk,” "tell," "inform," “relate,” and "report,” on the other.
Explanation:
In my answer to your question on “Arabic speakers under-report corruption,” I wrote:

The verbs KALLAMA and TAKALLAMA as well as the noun KALAM are closer to the sense of “speech” as a basic function. HADDATHA, TAHADDATHA, and HADEETH strike me as expressive of a specific social exercise or application of the basic function of speech. It is closer to “talking,” "telling," "informing," and "reporting" than to mere “speaking.” End of quote.

Now I must add that just as “speak” and “talk” greatly overlap, TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA share a very broad gray area as well. Let us first look at “speak” and “talk.”

Webster’s New Dictionary of Synonyms contrasts the two expressions in two different ways. Here is the first contrast:

“Speak” and “talk” can both mean to articulate words so as to express one’s thoughts. “Speak” is, in general, the broad term and may refer to utterances of any kind, how er coherent or however broken or disconnected, and with or without reference to a hearer or hearers. Examples:

“not able to speak above a whisper.”

“I shall speak to him about it.”

“Let him speak for the organization.”

“Most of the material in this book was spoken before it was printed.”

“She repeated them, angered . . . but once the words were spoken she was sorry.”

“The Bellman looked scared, and was almost too frightened to speak.” -- Lewis Carroll

Talk, on the other hand, usually implies an auditor or auditors and connected colloquy or discourse. Examples:

“He left the room because he did not care to talk.”

“We talk in the bosom of our family in a way different from that in which we discourse on state occasions.”

“She talked and talked and talked, yet it seemed to Marjorie that she could never hear enough of this girl’s worldly wisdom.”

End of quote.

The same dictionary goes on to contrast “speak” and “talk” in a different way, as follows:

“Speak” is used of relatively weighty or formal speech (often public speech), and “talk,” of what is more or less empty or frivolous. Examples:

“A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.” -- Ben Jonson.

“A good old man, sir; he will be talking.” – Shakespeare

“Yet there happened in my time one noble speaker who was full of gravity in his speaking. . . No man ever spake more neatly, more pressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness, in what he uttered.” – Ben Jonson

End of quote.

Needless to say, most speakers are heedless of such nuances, even as they implicitly follow these broad lines in their own sentences, without explicit awareness of why they choose one or the other. The overlap is forgivingly wide.

Before I address TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA, I want to emphasize that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between “speak” and “talk” on the one hand, and TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA, on the other. These two pairs are not perfectly parallel. There is some analogy between the two pairs that makes one pair a convenient introduction to the other, but we should not read more into it than is warrented.

KALAM typically expresses the basic human faculty of speech, that is, the ability to use language to express or to communicate. Any exercise of this function may be called KALAM, and the produced set of utterances is also called KALAM. Examples:

القرآن كلام الله

وكَلَّم الله مُوسى تَكليماً

إنِّي نَذَرتُ للرحمن صَوماً فَلَن أُكَلِّمَ اليَومَ أنسـيّا

قالَ آيَـتُك ألاّ تُكَلِّمَ الناسَ ثَلاثَ لَيال سَـويّا

اليومَ نَختمُ على أفواههم وتُكَلِّمُنا أيديهم

قالُوا كَيفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كانَ في المهد صَبيّا

وما كانَ لبَشَـر أن يُكَلِّمَه الله إلاّ وَحياً

لا يَتَكَلَّمُون إلاّ مَن أَذنَ له الرَحمنُ وقالَ صَوابا




HADEETH, on the other hand is the sort of discourse that is usually intended for a social purpose or partaken in a social context. It is typically intended to convey information, ideas, or feelings. Notice for instance that the “reports” of the Islamic “Prophetic Traditions” are called AHADEETH, and the person who “relates” them is called MUHADDITH. Also notice that HADEETH is derived from the root H-D-TH, which carries the sense of newness or novelty. The English words “news” and “novel” are likewise related to this notion. Here are Qur’anic citations along these lines:

يَومَئذ تُحَدِّثُ أَخبارها

وأَمّا بنعمة رَبِّك فحَـدِّث

هَل أَتاكَ حَديثُ مُوسَى

هَل أَتاكَ حَديثُ ضَيف إبراهيم

وكذلك يَجتَبيكَ رَبُّك ويُعَلِّمُك من تَأويل الأحاديث

I hope these examples are sufficient to illustrate the points of difference, but we should also keep in mind two points:

1. The differences my be too subtle for many people to appreciate or at least to articulate.

2. The terms themselves overlap to a considerable extent, regardless of how careful we wish to be. In other words, one can be too careful by ascribing to words rigid delimitations that fail to reflect the complex nature of human language.


Fuad
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Fuad Yahya
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Summary of answers provided
4 +2“speak,” on the one hand, and “talk,” "tell," "inform," “relate,” and "report,” on the other.Fuad Yahya
4 +1They are nearly the sameRaghad


  

Answers


2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
They are nearly the same


Explanation:
الكلام: هو الجملة المفيدة. والكاف واللام والميم مجتمعة ترمز إلى القوة والشدة.
- تكلم الناس في المهد –
- ألا تكلم الناس ثلاثة أيام إلا رمزاً -
الحديث: ما يُحدّث به. والحاء والدال والثاء ترمز إلى تكون شيء لم يكن.
- وأما بنعمة ربك فحدث -
- يومئذ تحدث أخبارها -

تكلم تكلماً وتكلاماً: تحدث

عندما يقارن ابن جني في كتاب الخصائص بين القول والكلام يستشهد على ذلك بقول الشاعر:
أذكر من جارتي ومجلسها طرائفاً من حديثها الحسن
معتبراً الحديث الحسن كلاما.

As far as I know, the choice is yours, though sometimes one feels that this verb sounds better. (like the Ayat above)
I usually look for the symbolic meaning (or the meanings of the letters) and see how much it fits my context.

Hope this is helpful.

الخصائص لابن جني، فقه اللغة وأسرار العربية للثعالبي، المقاييس في اللغة، الصحاح، لسان العرب.



Raghad
Local time: 17:04

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AhmedAMS
101 days
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
“speak,” on the one hand, and “talk,” "tell," "inform," “relate,” and "report,” on the other.


Explanation:
In my answer to your question on “Arabic speakers under-report corruption,” I wrote:

The verbs KALLAMA and TAKALLAMA as well as the noun KALAM are closer to the sense of “speech” as a basic function. HADDATHA, TAHADDATHA, and HADEETH strike me as expressive of a specific social exercise or application of the basic function of speech. It is closer to “talking,” "telling," "informing," and "reporting" than to mere “speaking.” End of quote.

Now I must add that just as “speak” and “talk” greatly overlap, TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA share a very broad gray area as well. Let us first look at “speak” and “talk.”

Webster’s New Dictionary of Synonyms contrasts the two expressions in two different ways. Here is the first contrast:

“Speak” and “talk” can both mean to articulate words so as to express one’s thoughts. “Speak” is, in general, the broad term and may refer to utterances of any kind, how er coherent or however broken or disconnected, and with or without reference to a hearer or hearers. Examples:

“not able to speak above a whisper.”

“I shall speak to him about it.”

“Let him speak for the organization.”

“Most of the material in this book was spoken before it was printed.”

“She repeated them, angered . . . but once the words were spoken she was sorry.”

“The Bellman looked scared, and was almost too frightened to speak.” -- Lewis Carroll

Talk, on the other hand, usually implies an auditor or auditors and connected colloquy or discourse. Examples:

“He left the room because he did not care to talk.”

“We talk in the bosom of our family in a way different from that in which we discourse on state occasions.”

“She talked and talked and talked, yet it seemed to Marjorie that she could never hear enough of this girl’s worldly wisdom.”

End of quote.

The same dictionary goes on to contrast “speak” and “talk” in a different way, as follows:

“Speak” is used of relatively weighty or formal speech (often public speech), and “talk,” of what is more or less empty or frivolous. Examples:

“A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.” -- Ben Jonson.

“A good old man, sir; he will be talking.” – Shakespeare

“Yet there happened in my time one noble speaker who was full of gravity in his speaking. . . No man ever spake more neatly, more pressly, more weightily, or suffered less emptiness, less idleness, in what he uttered.” – Ben Jonson

End of quote.

Needless to say, most speakers are heedless of such nuances, even as they implicitly follow these broad lines in their own sentences, without explicit awareness of why they choose one or the other. The overlap is forgivingly wide.

Before I address TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA, I want to emphasize that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between “speak” and “talk” on the one hand, and TAKALLAMA and TAHADDATHA, on the other. These two pairs are not perfectly parallel. There is some analogy between the two pairs that makes one pair a convenient introduction to the other, but we should not read more into it than is warrented.

KALAM typically expresses the basic human faculty of speech, that is, the ability to use language to express or to communicate. Any exercise of this function may be called KALAM, and the produced set of utterances is also called KALAM. Examples:

القرآن كلام الله

وكَلَّم الله مُوسى تَكليماً

إنِّي نَذَرتُ للرحمن صَوماً فَلَن أُكَلِّمَ اليَومَ أنسـيّا

قالَ آيَـتُك ألاّ تُكَلِّمَ الناسَ ثَلاثَ لَيال سَـويّا

اليومَ نَختمُ على أفواههم وتُكَلِّمُنا أيديهم

قالُوا كَيفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كانَ في المهد صَبيّا

وما كانَ لبَشَـر أن يُكَلِّمَه الله إلاّ وَحياً

لا يَتَكَلَّمُون إلاّ مَن أَذنَ له الرَحمنُ وقالَ صَوابا




HADEETH, on the other hand is the sort of discourse that is usually intended for a social purpose or partaken in a social context. It is typically intended to convey information, ideas, or feelings. Notice for instance that the “reports” of the Islamic “Prophetic Traditions” are called AHADEETH, and the person who “relates” them is called MUHADDITH. Also notice that HADEETH is derived from the root H-D-TH, which carries the sense of newness or novelty. The English words “news” and “novel” are likewise related to this notion. Here are Qur’anic citations along these lines:

يَومَئذ تُحَدِّثُ أَخبارها

وأَمّا بنعمة رَبِّك فحَـدِّث

هَل أَتاكَ حَديثُ مُوسَى

هَل أَتاكَ حَديثُ ضَيف إبراهيم

وكذلك يَجتَبيكَ رَبُّك ويُعَلِّمُك من تَأويل الأحاديث

I hope these examples are sufficient to illustrate the points of difference, but we should also keep in mind two points:

1. The differences my be too subtle for many people to appreciate or at least to articulate.

2. The terms themselves overlap to a considerable extent, regardless of how careful we wish to be. In other words, one can be too careful by ascribing to words rigid delimitations that fail to reflect the complex nature of human language.


Fuad

Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
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Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  AhmedAMS
101 days

agree  Alaa AHMED
921 days
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Changes made by editors
Jan 14, 2006 - Changes made by Fuad Yahya:
Language pairArabic » Arabic to English
Jan 14, 2006 - Changes made by Fuad Yahya:
Field (specific)General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters » Linguistics
Field (write-in)General » (none)
Jan 1, 2006 - Changes made by Fuad Yahya:
FieldOther » Art/Literary


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