1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Я не говорю по-английски."

"Я не говорю по-английски."

Translation:I do not speak English.

December 9, 2015



Can someone kindly tell me what is the meaning of the по? Could I also say Я не говорю английски?


По-английски literally means "the Anglia way" , Англия being the word for England or, informally, for the UK. There is no such word as "английски" . I'll give you another example of using this word-formation pattern. ньюйоркский = of or related to New York (city or state), по-ньюйоркски = in a New York way. The verb говорить can only be modified by an adverb or a noun phrase


ah ok.. This was my question too. So "По" is like a way to make it "-ish"?


Like "New York State of Mind" -Billy Joel. lol Good explanation, thanks.


But somehow, I got the translation right!! :-)))


Haha when I listen to this I can't help thinking of the French structure "ne ... pas" Я не говорю по английскому = Je ne parle pas anglais


Haha pourtant c'est pas ça c'est un semi piège


The translation "I can't speak english" doesn't get accepted, so i was wondering if someone could explain why this is.


The meaning is " I DON'T speak English", not "I can't". "I can't" would be "Ne mogu" (Не могу).


in this case "не умею". But, in real life, we do say "не говорю (на таком-то языке)" when we really mean "не умею говорить". And we say не говорю more often.


Некоторые умеют - а не говорят! ;-)


Yes but we use говорю we use for I


"I can't speak…" being rejected gives the misleading impression that this sentence is just about a habit and not ability.


And then would "могу" get pronounced as "mo-lu"?

Also, can I use "могу" like the "умею" verb consistently?


могу is pronounced close to muh-goo. The Russian "y" requires protruding your lips much more than the English oo, though. It sounds more like oo in "woo" or ou in wound (injury) than like oo in "good". Moгу may mean "I can", "I may" or "I have an opportunity". Умею is more specific: it means "I can" in the sense of "I know how to", "I am capable of".


VERY helpful thank you. One more question: is the Russian "y" pronounced more like the French "ou" or like the vowel sound in English words "food" / "who"?


When it is stressed, yes. When unstressed, the Russian -y sounds more like u in “full”.


Why is "I don't speak in English." not accepted? It's a more literal translation. I speak in English or via English. otherwise it would be Ya ne govoryu angliski yazik because I don't speak English is a shortened version of I don't speak the English language.


We can say something in English, but we speak English (no preposition). That’s the way the verbs collocate in English.


This is the boss music of your trip to Russia. When you hear it, you know **** is about to hit the fan.


I speak no English


I can't one bit.

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.