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小城故事 (Small Town Stories) by the incomparable Deng Lijun has the following lyrics:

 谈的谈,说的说
 小城故事真不错!

I get the sense that the exact translation of 谈的谈 etc is not important compared to the next line, but I'm curious how to understand and translate this. Is it referring to the stories themselves, or the people who enjoy telling those stories, or both? Or something else?

I translated it as:

Some like to talk, some like to discuss

Which implies the subject is the people who are talking, but I'm not sure if that is the best representation or not.

What is the subject of 谈的谈,说的说?

For context, here are the complete lyrics.

小城故事多
充满喜和乐
若是你到小城来
收获特别多

看似一幅画
听像一首歌
人生境界真善美
这里已包括

谈的谈,说的说
小城故事真不错
请你的朋友一起来
小城来做客
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  • Just to add a point about 谈的谈,说的说 itself. Though it confines in the song to only talking about it, the repetitive nature of the phrase is to invoke the idea that, whether you are talking, discussing, dreaming, reminiscing, remembering, stories of or about small towns are never bad or uninteresting. Commented Mar 11 at 12:48

3 Answers 3

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The subject is the people, the topic is 小城故事 (the small town's stories)

谈的谈,说的说,小城故事真不错 - The ones who talk, talk; the ones who speak, speak. The small town's stories aren't bad at all

People are talking and speaking about the small town's stories, which are interesting to hear

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I would tend to agree with Tang Ho:

谈的(人)谈(小城故事),说的(人)说(小城故事) (refers back to 小城故事多 and/or forward to 小城故事真不错)
(People who) discuss discuss (Small Town stories), (People who) talk tell (Small Town stories)

小城故事真不错
Small town stories are really not that bad.

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What is the subject of 谈的谈,说的说?

The small-town stories.

Taking out the fill-ins, the lyric is like this:

小城故事多 - The small town has a lot of stories,

充满喜和乐 - all filled with cheers and happiness.

谈的谈,说的说 - In talks, in conservations,

小城故事真不错 - the small-town stories (in the talks and conservations) are quite interesting/impressive.

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    Could it be understood as a contraction of 该 A 的 A,e.g. (我们在说这个小城的老故事),该谈的都谈过了,该说的都说,感觉每一个都很有意思? Commented Mar 10 at 20:09
  • Could be. A lyric of a song is similar to a poem, the translation would be fine as long as you can connect all segments around the main theme and still make sense, In my opinion, the last segment can be interpreted as "被盛傳的(谈的谈,说的说)都是小城的老故事, 這些故事真有趣啊. 請快快帶你的朋友一起來小城作客."
    – r13
    Commented Mar 10 at 21:34
  • I have 2 answers, one saying that the subject is the people talking, the other saying that it's the stories that are talked about. It really does seem there is some ambiguity there, but that makes it all the more poetic. It's almost enough to make me want to go and visit a small town myself! Commented Mar 10 at 23:04
  • It was the intention of the composer - to romanticize the small towns and draw visitors/interests.
    – r13
    Commented Mar 11 at 0:18

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