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Talk Out the Side of Your Neck

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  • This expression also exists in Dutch as “uit zijn nek kletsen” or “uit zijn nek praten” and it originates from phrenology. Phrenology was a science from the beginning of the 19th century that investigated the relation between a person’s brain and mental capacity. One of the methods was to measure skulls and link certain shapes with certain skills and characteristics.

    This science had big impact on the 19th century society starting in the academic world and later also in the other sections of society. This resulted in expressions such as “to talk out of your neck” (talking nonsense) and other Dutch words such as “talenknobbel” which stands for a head for languages but it literally means “language lump or language knob”. It was believed that the language lump was above the eye. In Dutch the word “knobbel” referring to a lump or knob in the brain is used to refer to intellectual abilities including maths, science, etc.

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