to talk tough

Tilmeedh

Senior Member
English (Canada)
Hi all--how could one render the English 'to talk tough' into the various Arabic dialects?

This phrase means 'to speak in a way that makes other people fear you', as in the example below[1]:

'He likes to talk tough, but he's really a sweetheart inside.'

Here's a tentative proposal in Lebanese, though I expect it sounds too MSA-tinged:

(بيحبّ ----, بس بالواقع هو عزيز على القلب بجوهره/بقرارة نفسه.)

Thanks in advance.

[1]

talk tough
 
  • Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    Follow-up: a native Arabic speaker elsewhere has proposed this translation, specifically into Lebanese:

    (بيحبّ يكون قاسي بكلامو بس للحقيقة قلبو طيّب من جوّا.)

    What would you suggest?
     

    Mohammad346

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    قاسي بكلامو is more like: he doesn't care about hurting anyone's feelings by his words, he doesn't sugarcoat what he thinks is true..and it fits the sentence perfectly:
    هوي قاسي بكلامو بس (للحقيقة) قلبو طيب من جوا
    You can also say:
    كلامو قاسي بس (للحقيقة) قلبو طيب من جوا

    Actually I can't think of an equivalent for 'talk tough' but you can say:
    طريقة كلامو بتخلي الناس تخاف منو
     
    Last edited:

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Is it للحقيقة and not بالحقيقة in Northern Levantine?

    I think قاسي بكلامو works if we mean "harsh," but "tough" doesn't necessarily mean "harsh." I haven't been able to come up with a solid translation (yet).

    طريقة كلامو بتخلي الناس تخاف منو
    I think this sounds too much like a translation. :D
     

    Hemza

    Senior Member
    French, Mor/Hijz Arabic (heritage)
    In Moroccan you may say

    يبغي يبان/يظهر قاسح في كلامه/هدرته ولكن في الحقيقة قلبه طيب

    Other Moroccan members may come with a better way though, I don't know.
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    Hi all--how could one render the English 'to talk tough' into the various Arabic dialects?

    This phrase means 'to speak in a way that makes other people fear you', as in the example below[1]:

    'He likes to talk tough, but he's really a sweetheart inside.'

    Here's a tentative proposal in Lebanese, though I expect it sounds too MSA-tinged:

    (بيحبّ ----, بس بالواقع هو عزيز على القلب بجوهره/بقرارة نفسه.)

    Thanks in advance.

    [1]

    talk tough
    كلامه قاسي وقلبه طيب
     

    Mohammad346

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    Is it للحقيقة and not بالحقيقة in Northern Levantine?
    Yes, للحقيقة is much more common here in Syria (maybe in Lebanon as well) whereas بالحقيقة is usually used in formal registers.
    I also think there is a slight difference in meaning:
    للحقيقة = to tell the truth/let's be fair/honestly..
    بالحقيقة = as a matter of fact/in reality..

    I think this sounds too much like a translation. :D
    Actually I added the last part later because I thought the كلامو قاسي part didn't answer the question in the OP, and since there was no idiomatic equivalent for 'talk tough' I could think of, I went with the literal translation. So yeah, I agree, it's as literal as could be :)

    As I'm writing this, the verb يِضْبَع comes to mind and it seems to be an equivalent. I'm not really sure if it's used in other dialects though.
    (For some perspective, يضبع is derived from ضبع: hyena)
     

    Tilmeedh

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I think قاسي بكلامو works if we mean "harsh," but "tough" doesn't necessarily mean "harsh." I haven't been able to come up with a solid translation (yet).

    Another native speaker elsewhere has also proposed (بيحبّ يحكي بقسوة). But one wonders if this phrase actually means 'he likes to talk in a blunt/cruel way' or perhaps 'he likes to talk in a forceful/aggressive tone'.

    Having some clear examples of the English expression as used in a real-world context may help in coming up with a suitable Arabic equivalent. One will easily find a number of them by doing a Google search for 'Trump+talk+tough+Iran'.
     
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