I've been wondering about the difference between verb stem (e.g. 話) vs. の (e.g. 話すの) nominalizations.
From what I gather, they refer to different things. It seems the verb stems refer to the objects involved in the doing (like those used in を). For example, life in relation to living (暮らし in relation to 暮らす) and speech in relation to speaking (話 vs. 話す).
While の refers to the act itself (described by the verb). So, for example, (as I have a sore throat), 話すのは難しい。(i.e. the act of speaking is difficult). Am I right about this?