Quick context, work as a translator.
I had a short blurb I had to translate where I basically rendered it as:
"Bob spoke about how Countryland was one of the countries that suffered greatly from the Big Bad Thing, and that he wanted to hold a photograph exhibition in Hereland."
(Names and places changed for privacy/company policy reasons)
Is there anything wrong with making it "said that Countryland..." Is it ungrammatical? If so, what would be the correct word(s) to use?
My proofreader initially changed "spoke about how" to "told that" which was ungrammatical, so I told her that, to which she responded "change it to 'said or said that' then", which I felt was wrong but could not explain why.
All the stuff I came across online explained that:
"Say" is when you pronounce words, express a thought/opinion, for stating a fact, affirming something, declaring something, etc. and is also a one-way sort of action, i.e. doesn't necessarily imply there's more than one person in the situation at hand. It is also doesn't take a person as its object, not without some modifying/adding extra words.
"Tell" is for giving information to somebody through speaking or writing and needs a person after it as the object. Unlike Say, it is a "two-way" sort of action, where it implies the existence of two parties conversing with each other.
"Speak" is for languages and for general conversation, no specific details usually expressed.
"Talk" is more or less the same as speak, but more informal.