talk out the side of one’s neck

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by AlexDD, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. AlexDD Member

    Español -- Jalisco, México
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Alex, because it's a Dutch expression it might take someone who speaks both Dutch and English to tell us how it relates to English expressions.

    That said, the Dutch "talk out of the side of one's neck" (if that's indeed an adequate translation) seems similar to the AE "talk out of one's hat," to talk nonsense, to talk without really knowing about the subject.

    To "talk out of one's ass" is similar, though it is most often used to describe someone who is bragging about himself or criticizing another. It's a very rude phrase, of course.
  3. AlexDD Member

    Español -- Jalisco, México
    Thank you, bibliolept.

    Could you help me out to move this thread to the Dutch-English Forum?
  4. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    British English

    I have never heard the expression before. It seems to mean saying nothing of any interest, pointless talk. There are a couple of songs with the expression as the title. The words of one of them are here

    From these words, ooops I mean 'lyrics', the only thing the singer wants to hear about is money and he's not interested in hearing about anything else.

    Maybe this would be called gangsta rap ? I am somewhat out of my depth here !

    I know the expression "to talk through one's hat" meaning to talk about something you know nothing about. I hope I don't talk through my hat very often.

  5. killerbees Senior Member

    Philadelphia, PA
    English [US]
    I looked this up in a list of Dutch expressions which you can find here: under nek. The definition is listed as "peddling/selling nonsense", which would be equivalent to the English expression 'talking out of one's hat/ass'.

    I can't speak for the frequency of usage in Dutch, but, to my knowledge, 'talking out of the side of one's neck' is not nearly as common or known as the hat/ass variants in English.

    Also, the expression given in the list, which I admit isn't very helpful if you can't read Dutch, just reads 'to speak out of one's neck'.

    'To blow smoke' and 'to fabulate' mean essentially the same thing, though I can't say I've ever heard 'fabulate' used in conversation.

    A quick note about the text in bold, since this was originally in the English only forum. These expressions all contain the element of fabrication, but have different nuance.

    To talk out of your hat/your ass/ the back of your neck - talking about something as if you are knowledgeable without actually being so.
    To blow smoke - exaggerating/lying to make something or someone sound better than it is
    To fabulate - to create/tell stories [which usually have fictitious elements]
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  6. missangelamb Member

    Belgium - French & Dutch

    it does exist in Dutch and literally means 'to talk out of one's neck'. It's rather informal and has the same meaning as in English. No idea where it comes from...
  7. Porteño Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    British English
    I always thought the expression was 'to talk out of the back of ones' neck'. Or perhaps 'out of the back of one's head'.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  8. killerbees Senior Member

    Philadelphia, PA
    English [US]
    That's exactly it! I couldn't figure out why the original sounded so strange to me...
  9. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    In Belgium I remember the expression, "to have a fat neck" (or thick neck) meant to boast or brag and people would often gesture to both sides of the rear of their neck with both hands when they said it. Maybe that expression only applies to bragging and is different from talking out of ones' neck.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  10. HKK

    HKK Senior Member

    3010 Leuven, Be.
    Strange how the expression seems to have changed. There is no reference to any specific part of the neck in the original Dutch "Uit zijn nek kletsen". Kletsen can mean to talk smalltalk, to banter, to chat, to catch up on gossip...

    I suppose to talk out of one's neck means the head is bypassed; therefore the kletsen gets even more mindless.
  11. The Machine of Zhu Member

    Dutch - Flemish
    "Uit zijn nek praten/kletsen/lullen" has the label "informal, colloquialism" in Van Dale. "Lullen" can be translated as "to talk bullshit." Van Dale Dutch-English indeed has "to talk out of the back of one's neck" as a translation for this expression. I have no idea where the expression comes from

    Literally? ;)
  12. CLandKy New Member

    It looks like in American English it would be to 'talk out of the side of their mouth', which means that it's not what they would say to others, or just a bunch of bull.
  13. Greetd

    Greetd Member

    Flanders, Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    I think it is translated as "the back of one's neck" because the Dutch word "nek" is not an exact synonym for the English word "neck".
    Nek = the back of the neck
    Hals = the front of the neck
    Maybe that's why they translated the expression that way, to specify what part of the neck it's about (as it is specified in Dutch)?

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