"Can you play piano?"
Translation:Вы умеете играть на пианино?
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Yes, if a grand piano is implied.
- piano is фортепиа́но (a generic term for different kinds of pianos),
- пиани́но is a vertical piano,
- and роя́ль is a grand piano.
Роя́ль and пиани́но from Wikipedia (both are types of фортепиа́но):
However, many people don't use the word 'фортепиано' and use 'пианино' as the default term for all kind of pianos, because 'пианино' is the most common type of pianos.
Fortepiano is also the archaic English term for what is now called a grand piano - from the days when all pianos were like this. To use it nowadays would sound horribly pompous!
Пианино does not decline; its form always stays the same. See the declension table here.
Would a better translation be "Do you know how to play the piano?" I thought "играешь" would work for this sentence, but "играть" is apparently correct. I thought that the "умеете" is responsible somehow for changing the way we have to conjugate the word for "play." Or am I way off?
I think that “Do you know how to play the piano?” is a clearer translation of the Russian sentence Вы умеете играть на пианино (alternatively phrased Ты умеешь играть на пианино). In English, we use “can” to mean knowledge/learned ability (уметь), as well as possibility (мочь), and even as a polite request. (It would not be unheard of for a person I know to be asked, “Can you play piano?” and the implication of the sentence in its context would be for her to consider playing piano for church on a Sunday.) So to answer your first question - yes.
By phrasing it as, “Do you know how to play the piano,” it is also easier to answer your second question. So conjugate the first verb, уметь, into умеете/умеешь and get a (sort of) phrasal verb “know how.” Then in both English and Russian, leave играть in its infinitive form (“to play”). So only the first verb has to be conjugated.
«Ты играешь на пианино?» means 'Are you playing piano?' or 'Do you play piano?', not 'Can you play piano?'.
Of course, those sentences are mostly interchangeable, because people don't usually play piano when they can't play it... but sometimes they do. xD
In russian this sentens have both mean, and "ты играешь на пианино?" automaticly may means "ты умеешь играть на пианино?"
Why did it not accept фортепиано, but insist on the shortened пианино? I had a native Russian ask me this question not long ago and they used the first word. It should be allowed as a variant, i think.
It should. Next time you get this sentence, consider using the Report button with ‘My answer should be accepted’ option.
Пиани́но ‘upright piano’ is a type of фортепиа́но ‘piano’. Another type is роя́ль ‘grand piano’.
In English, it’s common to say ‘piano’ without specifying its type. In Russian, it’s more common to say пиани́но or роя́ль, and фортепиа́но is a less common word (but it should be accepted, too, of course).
Typing "умееш" without "ь" is considered as typo. I think is a major mistake and it should disqualify teh answer.