A person can be known by their talk

Discussion in 'English Only' started by A-friend, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. A-friend

    A-friend Senior Member

    Persian (Farsi)
    In Persian language we have a saying which says, someone’s speaking style (the words which they use, the way and tone they speak through), can show their character to a large extent.
    I found several equivalents for this proverb in English and finally selected two of them; I wonder if you could help me to realize which one of them is more in common use among natives?
    a) A man is known by his talk
    b) Speech is the picture of the mind
    [Source: A dictionary of proverbs and colloquial idioms; Written by Dr. Teimouri]
    [I guess both of them can convey the matter in my question but “b” sounds more similar to a proverb]
  2. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    I've never seen or heard either of them, but I'd agree that b sounds more natural and proverb-like.
  3. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    I've heard it as the quotation from Seneca (the Ancient Roman writer): "Speech is the mirror of the mind"
    a) Sounds a little like a quotation from the Greek writer Menander: "The character of a man is known from his conversations".

    Both of these are translations of course. I don't know any purely English sayings on the subject.
  4. A-friend

    A-friend Senior Member

    Persian (Farsi)
    Thanks dear Velisarius
    But I would appreciate it if you could tell me what do you (you as a typical and a native speaker) say to convey such a concept?
  5. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    Informally I might say "You can tell a lot about someone from hearing them speak".
  6. AngelEyes

    AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    I would say, "A man is known by the words he speaks."

    However, I looked and couldn't find links to this saying, so now I'm wondering where I learned this one. It's completely understandable, though, and conveys what I think you're trying to express in your first example.

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