Translation:I can speak English.
I agree. Duolingo is a great website for practicing, but doesn't do an amazing job explaining grammar rules, which is essential in learning Japanese, or any language for that matter. When I first began intro one, I searched up grammar basics on Youtube and this is the most useful video I've found for when you begin learning the language. https://youtu.be/BckC9gXghIc It's a bit lengthy, but it's worth it, trust me.
話します is "I speak", whereas 「話せます」 is "I can speak". It is the potential form, so it is like " I can (verb)" , which is formed as follows:
For う verbs/ godan verbs: Change the う into える。 話す becomes 話せる 書く becomes `書ける etc.
For る verbs/ ichidan verbs: Change the る into られる。 見る becomes 見られる 食べる becomes 食べられる Often the ら is dropped in this case so it becomes 食べれる.
the changing may be difficult. so, there is another way to express potential form.
i can speak. わたしは 話す こと が できる。
i can write. わたしは 書くこと が できる。
in these case, 'できる' means 'can'.
the function of こと is as same as of 'to' or 'ing'. for example...
it is possible for me 'to' speak Japanese.
it is possible for me speaking Japanese. i hope this comment helps you.
please refer to this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_verb_conjugation
you're using kanji waaaay above the point im at. hell most of the people who liked your comment understood 30% of what you said........ you aren't speaking to native Japanese speaking people. i read a little, then found myself lost entirely but finding what youree saying useful. i don't want to google every aspect of an explanation. Hopefully this becomes understandable to me in the near future. but right now it is useless. i know this is old, sorry for ranting but im tired of these advanced explanations, from most likely self taught people when duolingo needs to oblige themselves in helping with the learning curve. they make money off of us the least they can do is hire a person who speaks each language to add tips and pointers. that way there is way less "from my understanding" and a tutored like sense of education.
Unfortunately thereare way more people complaining about not using enough kanji. It is very bad that Duolingo developers do not prioritize adding the readings of kanji making learning experience bad.
If you don't understand any of the comments, just leave it. Not all comments target the real beginners.
Also check the official tips and notes that are only available in the web version.
Basically some verbs conjugated in -eru form are in their potential form which represents ability. e.g. hanasu (dictionary form)-> hanaseru (potential form). Just read the wiki page I posted above for more information on various conjugated forms.
Because in Japanese you don't need a subject in a sentence; it's left to context to decide the meaning. It's like saying "I go to the store and shop." You don't need to repeat yourself. But Japanese takes this a step further and lets you drop the first 'I' as long as it's understood. This also applies to words other than 'I' but you get the picture.
When it is in the potential form, it does not accept a direct object, so we do not use "を". It indeed express the state of the ability and the direct object in the plain form becomes the subject in the potential form. It is difficult to understand so I recommend beginners to just memorize the usage of が if we are using the potential form.
Japanese has several politeness levels. Among them are Informal Speech, Formal Speech ("keigo"), and Humble Speech. You will only need to deal with the first two, usually, though there's a bit more to it. You recognize Keigo by either です/ます, which are not used in non-keigo, or by certain words. For example, if you are male, 私 (わたし) is keigo for "me/I". おれ, ぼく etc. are informal.
There can be multiple subjects in a sentence. This is the so-called は～が structure in Japanese. It is used to describe traits owned by someone or something.
私は背が高いです I have a trait that my back is high. => I am tall. Both 私 (I) and 背(Back) are subjects (same as the English sentence).
私は英語が話せます。 私 is the larger subject and 英語 is the smaller subject. "I have a trait that English is being able to be spoken"
When it is in potential form, in this case 話せる, it is no longer a transtive verb and can no longer take an object. Think of this potential form is transformed to the passive voice; the original object 英語 of the verb 話す becomes the subject of 話せる. (The Japanese potential form was derived from the passive form in the ancient times.)
Therefore it is almost grammatically incorrect to use を with 話せる, although を is used with 話す. (In day-to-day conversations you will find を with potential form, but really it should not be the case in written form.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_verb_conjugation#Potential. The potential form is basically an -eru verb.
From the dictionary form of potential conjugation, apply the polite form of (-eru) at this section https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_verb_conjugation#Summary_of_verb_conjugations
話す→話せる(from the potential form chart)→話せます(from the polite form chart)