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  5. "I do not talk to her."

"I do not talk to her."


June 9, 2017



New sentence edited by Duo:



話しかける【はなしかける】this word is very similar to the English phrase "to start a conversation" or "to address (someone) to talk to".

As for the difference between 話す and the compound 話しかける、I think this is about the intrinsic meaning of かける。This word is a bit hard to explain, but you can understand it if you see it in another phrase like「声をかける」which literally means "to spread your voice" but it's often translated as "to call out (to)" like to someone you know in the street.

Then 話しかける is about you starting the element of speech in the direction of another person (this is also why you use に). The other person doesn't really need to do anything. By that definition, you can say that the difference between 話す and 話しかける is that the first one has a sense of mutuality while the second one is about you creating words so the other party hears them.

the sentence「私は彼女には話しかけません」feels more like something you would say about someone you don't know instead of saying you don't talk to someone you know for a particular reason (like being mad at them for example). In English "I don't talk to her" means that you have decided to not speak to her (correct me if I'm wrong) so I don't personally agree with the translation.

「彼女に話しかけない」basically means that the speaker will not start a conversation with 彼女。I personally think that if I were to say「私は彼女には話しかけません」in english, I would phrase it as "I have never spoken to her" or "I will not go and talk to her", neither sentence implies hostility from the speaker which also doesn't happen in the Japanese one.

I could personally see「私は彼女には話しかけません」being used in a situation where "you" and "someone else" want to say something difficult/awkward to 彼女 and you say "I will not go and talk to her"... "you go". This is a totally different context from what the English sentence from Duo is implying. I do not know if the Japanese sentence can be used like duo is doing, so I will leave it at that.

Instead, I will leave some examples so you can get a better idea of the word itself:

「話しかけやすい人」 "someone easy to talk to", "someone easy to start a conversation (with)".

「知らない人に話しかけないで」 "(Please) don't talk to strangers".

「二度と話しかけないでください」 "please don't talk (to me) again".

「彼には怖くて話しかけたことがない」"since he's scary I have never started a conversation with him" or "I'm scared of talking to him".

「次に会ったときには、何か話しかけてみようかと思う」"next time I meet (him/her), I think I will try to start a conversation about something".

「イギリス人はめったに知らない人に話しかけない」"British people rarely talk to strangers".





Old sentence from Duo:




The と particle here expresses mutuality, it can also be translated as "with".

the は is used to stress the negative in the sentence, you are marking 彼女は "as for with her" 話しません "I do not speak (with)".


The site learnwitholiver.com has a helpful comment on the use of 'wa' --

"(topic/comparison particle)" -- i.e. it may be used simply to denote the topic of a sentence, as in "wata(ku)shi-wa nihongo-ga suki desu." Japanese is the grammatical subject 'Japanese is likeable', while "I" is the topic: as far as I am concerned.." OR, it may be used to draw an explicit or implicit comparison: kanojo-to-wa hanashimasen: I do not talk to her, where the 'wa' implies that I do talk to other ppl, but not to her.


What does 話し掛け mean? Can anyone clarify? The app certainly hasn't taught it yet, but it's popping up in this question for me.


This is what I have been able to find: In Japanese you can combine two verbs into a so-called compound verb. It is like a new verb made up of the two original verbs. More info here. In this sentence we have 話し from 話す meaning to talk and 掛ける「かける」which according to my dictionary is usually written using kana alone. This verb apparently means a lot of different things. Together they form the new verb 話しかける meaning to address someone or start a conversation.


What does 話し掛ける mean?

I added some info about this word in my old comment, check it out if you have the time, you might find it helpful.


Same, I recalll no memory of learning it, and it certsinly didnt appear last time


Why are there two particles? Why are は and と right after each other? と is "with" or "and" so it's not particularily necessary in this sentence. If it is, then there's no need for は, which is just the topic/subject.


The と is required because you're talking "with" her, but I'm also unclear on what the particle は is for here


I believe the reason the はis here is because in addition to clarifying the topic, it is often used for contrast. As a result, it is frequently tossed into negative sentences that don't strictly need it. It's something like a less awkward version of "her, on the other hand? I don't talk to her!" The はserves the same purpose as the "on the other hand". Since it can't replace と, they're both included (double particles are indeed allowed in some cases - happens with も too I think).


"to" was marked wrong, and the correct translation was given as "kanojo NI wa"


That's because the sentence has been changed since these comments here were made.

It used 話します (hanashimasu) before and 話し掛けます (hanashikakemasu) now.

They differ in meaning. The former is "to speak/talk" and can use と (to) for "with" and the latter is "to adress" which is an expression with direction and thus uses に (ni).


Thank you for putting hiw 話し掛けます sounds. I could read all but the "掛" part of it and with no audio (currently) for the whole phrase I had no idea what it was all supposed to be.


The は particle is more about topic than grammatical subject. So it can go after a variety of things such as clauses ending in に or と. I think of it as focusing on that clause in this case. It's pretty vague when you do and don't use it, and depends on context (i.e which part of the sentence is new or important information) which is why the app doesn't require it I believe.


@ColinStanf3 Slight correction on "wa" and focus:

The "ga" (!) particle is used to focus on whatever clause it is added to. Take "MARIAga gakusei desu" - you want to stress that it's MARIA who is a student, maybe in response to a question like "Who in this group is a student?" or "Do you know any students?".

The "wa" particle is used to do the exact opposite - it sets the topic and then drives the attention to whatever the rest of the sentence says. So "Mariawa GAKUSEI DESU" stresses that Maria is in fact A STUDENT; this could answer questions like "Is Maria a colleague of yours?" or be replied to a sentence like "I wonder why Maria is always studying".

Looking at it this way makes it easier to understand, why it is used in negative sentences: you set the topic and then stress that xxxx is in fact NOT so - in this case, that you're NOT talking with her.


I have noticed that frequently in sentences with 'ga' the negative equivalent changes the participle to 'wa' - also in questions. This seems to concord with the explanation that it is focusing on the subject, vaguely similar to OTOH: "[I like everyone else, but] I do not like HER."


Apparently this question was changed, but the word 話し掛ける has not been taught anywhere (in the app at least) as far as I can see.

「話し掛ける」[dictionary form] はなしかける (hanashikakeru) means "to adress or talk (to someone)".

「話し掛けます」 [present/future tense] はなしかけます(hanashikakemasu)

「話し掛けません」[negative present/future tense] はなしかけません(hanashikakemasen)


Why is it hanashimasen sometimes and hanasemasen others? Can anyone explain?


I think "はなしません" means "to not speak" while "はなせません" means "cannot speak". So they're two different forms of the same verb that might be used in the same sense in some situations.


If I remember correctly, hanase means "to be able to speak (a language," whereas it seems hanashi means something more like "to talk."


for a number of verbs there is the normal form - hanasu > hanashimasu; and the potential "is able to" form - hanaseru > hanasemasu. The potential is made by changing the ending to add the connecting vowel 'e'. As I understand it, this has the same function as verb + dekiru (but is a lot shorter).


Why does this introduce completely new kanji all of a sudden? 掛? Feels a bit harsh.


This method is based on an active approach. That means instead of memorizing lists of vocabulary, kanji and syntax, the student learns the material by observation, similarly to how one learns one's own language. If you don't knwo the reading of the kanji, you can either wait for a sentence where it is pronounced for you, or look it up on google if you are impatient to know. Or in many cases, you can read the comments section, where someone will transliterate it.


I think the correct answer should include only the と without the は since the topic 'I' isn't stated, only implied. Otherwise, including the topic would be 私は彼女と話しません or わたしはかのじょとはなしません. If it was that the girl was the topic, then I think it would be 彼女は私と話しません, or 'She doesn't talk with me.'


It did accept my answer without the は particle :)


The audio is missing i cannot read the kanji if dulingo doesnt read it for me since duolingo doesnt teach on yomi and kun yomi reading also kanji meaning


Afaik there used to be audio, but it may have been broken by the new TTS they implemented a little while ago.
Either way, kindly check my other reply where I wrote the reading and more: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/23001373?comment_id=36795875


It probably "broke" when the answer was changed. They don't have a TTS recording of the new answer yet


The answer was changed multiple time this year alone. Basically back and forth between 話しますand 話しかけます. The first change I personally witnessed with this answer here was 9 months ago, which was before the TTS change and I remember it being pronounced back then. I'd asume it broke after the TTS change. Either way, it's been written out here multiple times in various comments, so people at least can find it.


Why can't 【私は】be omitted in this sentence? Is it because it's not implied?


From my understanding it should be possible to omit【私は】because it IS implied due to the verb form. (For example: it wouldn't imply "I" if it were a request, like using the て-form and such.)

I'd flag it as possible answer if it isn't accepted already.


Can someone explain the kanji after 話し in the answer? I cant tell if its a mistake or something im missing.


The Kanji【掛】(here using the Kun-reading か) alone means "hang", "suspend", "depend", "arrive at", "tax", "pour". For more information, like in what words it gets used, check this link: https://jisho.org/search/%23kanji%20%E6%8E%9B

For an explanation of the whole word that's used here see for example my older comment: https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/23001373?comment_id=37461078


this question still remains one of the mysteries of the universe. but why does it pop up without the audio for one of the pieces every time ?


Why theres no と particle?


I want to know the same thing. Most of the comments show people are referring to a to a "to" particle but mine has a "ni" particle and I don't understand why.


I want to know the same thing.

the sentence was changed by the contributors, when this happens any evidence of this happening goes aways, except for the comments. I updated my comment to reflect the new sentence while also leaving the old one.


I got this correct by entering 彼女には話しません。I'm probably incorrect, but I'm assuming this may be a...more natural way of saying this?


Why is 彼女は話しません not correct?


That means "She does not speak"
"I do not talk to her" uses 彼女 as a target of action so に is used.
You could also use と for "I do not talk with her" which implies more mutual conversation like "she and I do not speak"



Why is this wrong?


There can only by one「は」marking a topic within a Japanese sentence. If there's a second「は」it's probably used contrastive. In your case you either move it like this「私は彼女には…」so the first marks the subject (I) and the second the topic (towards her), or you simply drop the「私」since it's implied anyway.


Ah, so


would be correct? Because the second は is the negative/contrastive を.

Also "I talk to her" could be said like



  • 1678

No, there is no such thing as にを. 私は彼女に話します.


Why does 彼女を not work here?


を marks the direct object, the thing the verb is acting on. That would be "I speak her", which doesn't really make sense. You can speak a language, but you can't speak a person.
彼女 in this situation is the indirect object, the person being spoken to. 彼女に話します "I speak to her"


I'm assuming the question was again reverted back to use「話します」. But what would be with「を話しかける」? My feelings says it's off and I'd definitely rather keep using the「に」particle (mainly because it's directional), however would「を」be grammatically wrong? I mean,「話しかける」is a transitive verb and the meaning includes already "to" in a way going with "talking to", but also "adressing" would make it sound like taking an direct object would be fine. Would like to hear your input on that one, if you don't mind.


話しかける functions similar to 話す and still takes に for the target/direction of action. The main verb is still 話す "speak", being modified with かける "to start to/to initiate".
を is usually for marking the type of content that is spoken.
Some examples I can find that use a direct object include
何を話しかける - What will you say?
コマンドを話しかける - To say a command
フレーズを話しかける - To say a phrase
言葉を話しかける - To say a word


Thanks for the reply, I also found the 何を話しかける when I quickly checked Google before posting, but there weren't that many other results coming up, that's why I wondered how common it would be. I should've checked for the 掛ける usage here, but yeah, now it makes sense as a suffix!


the を in を話しかける would usually mark the thing you are talking about with the person which then would use に。

「彼女はいつも (私に)『いろいろなことを』話しかけました」"she always talked to me about different things".

I don't think is that common though。話す might be more natural sometimes because 話しかける might imply one-way conversation in some cases. Something like in my sentence, the listener might be implying that he didn't want to hear about those things. At least that's the impression I get, I might be wrong.


Thank you as well for your reply, so my feeling was kinda right :]

The one-sided conversation sounds like a thing that might be implied, but I guess that would be more obvious from the tone and not necessarily just from that sentence structure and verb usage.

Another thing I find interesting, is the "verb-masu-stem-掛ける" suffix usage making the 'thing' (depending on verb) being about to be done/initiated, as another possible meaning beside the "action being directed at someone" usage. I guess something like 彼女には話しかけるけど電話がすでに鳴っている (I most likely complete butchered this sentence).


Why is "I do not talk to her" using "には" and "I do not talk to him" uses "とは” and these answers don't work for the other:



I think all of these:


「彼女とは話しません」話す using と。

「彼女のには話しません」話す using に。Although this one is more like "I will not talk to her (about something)".

should be accepted in this example.

But I think「彼女は話しかけません」would be technically incorrect because 話しかける is more of an action you do in one direction, and not mutually. Similarly how we say "I will address →her" but we don't say "I will address with her".


why is there ni wa if ni is something something place?

same sentence but "him" used to wa


The particle usage has been explained multiple times already in this comment section, see:

TyrantRC even edited the top comment to include the explanation https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/23001373?comment_id=35166462

I understand, that this section seems quite crowded, because the sentence has been changed over time, but kindly try to read through replies first, so we can keep this section clear.

Also here's a good reading on combined particles:


i've read it before posting and none of that is sufficient explanation

at most just "well it's the correct answer here"

and yes why owl even keeps same comments for different examples especially when they remove answers which were correct previously and whole discussion is filled with obsolete answer


This is a community forum moderated by volunteers. Idk what you expect from free education. I personally think that there are valuable information on here, but in the end if you can't be bothered to do any research on your own, it can't be helped.


Why can't I say 彼女は話しません?


That would be "She does not talk"


Ahahah that makes sense, my bad XD


"I do not talk to him" 「彼とは話せません」

"I do not talk to her" 「私は彼女には話しかけません」

I don't know what's the different from these two, they look similar


look at the word meaning him / her. In the first case, there is a single character. In the second case there are two characters, of which the first is identical and the second is the character for woman.


Quick question... I just answered "彼女と話しません" And it was marked as correct, but something feels weird about the sentence as I wrote it, so my main question is... Can you really write it like this or does it sound like someone trying to speak Japanese and failing miserably?


Am i the only one thats notices the "私は彼女には”... Cant は both. Thats basic japanese. Shows how wrong this app teaches. は is used as a marker for topic and main sub. 私は彼女に話しかけません。 Better and more natural is 彼女には話しかけません。 what Duolingo has is just plain nonsense


Sure you can. It's called a contrastive は, and is very common when using combined particles such as には
You also see this in negations all of the time with は replacing が and を to stress the negative verb, as well as in the set ではありません "is/am not"
お茶飲みません - I do not drink tea
学生でありません - I am not a student
Topics being known information can be omitted if understood through context, so 私は can be dropped in many situations unless clarification is needed. That does not mean the topic does not exist though and it isn't incorrect to include it. The secondary は after the topic then introduces contrast.

Wasabi-jpn Combining particles
Stackexchange on には
JLPTbootcamp Contrastive は
Japanese with Anime on Contrastive は
A pdf essay on the contrastive は at linguisticsociety.org
Another pdf essay on contrastive は from UPenn.edu
The Syntax of Topics in Japanese


Why can't I use と in this case?


I didn't understand why but the actual translation to this sentence: 彼女と話しませんis actually: I am not ABLE to talk to her, because the verb used here is a potencial verb to the verb to speak= 話せます...

If the sentence were: 彼女と話せませんwould be perfect but it's not... Gonna report, help me yal.


Just to clarify:

話します = to speak

話せます = to be able to speak

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