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The Gift of Gab

August 15, 2011

This phrase will be a mystery to any English as a Second-Lanuager. Unless they are Tajik. I’ve never noticed how many English expressions I use are truly American, and even truly regional until I am constantly speaking with Second Language speakers. I also have  never really pondered the origins of some of these bizarre phrases. So here is the made-up but plausible story of the origin of the “gift of gab”.

Tajiks talk a lot. They talk about how they slept, how their weekend was, how they ate, how the kids are, the heat, the dust. Pretty standard things, but the conversations on these simple joys of life last forever. Likewise a person with the gift of gab can draw a conversation about the weather on for weeks. This is where English and Tajik meet. The Tajik root for “to talk” is gabzan, the key part of which is, you guessed it, gab.

The next time I use the expression I will thank my lucky stars that Tajik gave English the gift of gab.

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