Shouldn't this also be said as "What does he speak?" How can we tell whether it is What does he speak or What does he say?
"What does he speak?" (as opposed to "What does he say?") strikes me as an incomplete sentence in English. But I am not a native speaker.
"What languages does he speak?"
"What does he speak like?"
"What does he speak about during those evenings?"
Would be examples of "complete sentences" that I can make sense of.
No, "What does he speak?" is perfectly natural, especially in a running conversation, such as "Annie speaks French and Arabic" - "Bill speaks Amharic and Farsi" - "I speak German and Spanish" - "What do you speak?" - "Russian and Mandarin. How about Joe -- what does he speak?"
Seems to me it only sounds natural here because the "languages" is implied through the context of the conversation.
I would say that "What did he say?" would sound more natural in English, but then again, it's the present tense here. I find that quite interesting.
"What is he saying?" would probably be the best translation - it sounds more natural in English and uses a present tense.
That depends on the context. For example, jokes are usually told in present simple: "a man walks into a bar..." etc.
Two Russians walk into in a bar and order vodka.
One of them adds: - Make sure the mug glass is clean!
After a minute the waiter brings two mugs of vodka and asks: - Which of you ordered vodka in a clean mug?
Courtesy (modified): http://www.flowingevents.com/2012/01/5-best-russian-jokes-about-vodka.html
"What did he say?" is "что он сказал?", there is a difference in the meaing. "Что он говорит?" means "what does he say" or "what is he saying?"
"Correct answer: 'What does he say?'"
This would imply that I want the person that I am asking to find this out (in the immediate future.
'What is he saying?" This would imply that he is speaking right now and I can't hear him or need someone to translate for me.
Could Что он говорит? mean either?
"What is he saying?" is the best translation. I'm a native English speaker and I've never once said "What does he say?".