1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Chinese
  4. >
  5. "我会说一点儿汉语。"


Translation:I can speak a little bit of Chinese.

November 18, 2017



I can speak a little Chinese?


Still not accepted 3rd August 2019, so reported yet again.


Accepted: Nov. 19, 2019.


What is the difference between "汉语" and "中文"? Is one more traditional than the other?


汉语 is Mandarin (because there are dialects, like Cantonese or Shanghainese). 中文 is Chinese. I wrote Mandarin and they marked me wrong like is my second language is English my first is Mandarin FIGHT ME


I agree that 汉语 is Mandarin. I too keyed in Mandarin and got it wrong. I reported it. But knowing that the Duo people who are doing this is from Mainland China, I think Mandarin for them is 普通话 bu tong hua.

But to be more specific, 语 "yu" refers to spoken languages whereas 文 "wen" refers to the whole language itself (both written and spoken).

So, when you want to say "I speak..." you use 语 as in 英语 (English), 汉语(Mandarin) etc.

And when you want to say "I am learning...(a language)" you would use 文 as in 中文(Mandarin/Chinese), 英文 (English).

Finally, dialect in Mandarin is 方言 fang yan. So you would use this to refer to Cantonese, Hakka, Hainanese, etc.


Cantonese and Hakka are not dialects of Mandarin. Sichuanese is a dialect of Mandarin. Cantonese, Hakka, and Mandarin are independent Chinese languages. I'm not sure about Hainanese.

Hanyu literally means "language of the Han". The Han are the majority ethnicity of China and speak several languages, each of which has dialects. There are also non-Han languages spoken by the various ethnic minorities, most of which also have their own various dialects.


Nah man. Cantonese and Hakka can be considered as dialects of Chinese, at least to me as someone with both Cantonese and Hakka speaking family members. I guess it depends on who you're asking, since several Chinese classmates consider them to be seperate from Mandarin.


@hippietrail You may have a point here. I have read somewhere that Hakka and Cantonese have been used as court languages by some earlier emporers. Furthermore, there are variants of Hakka that can be considered as sub-dialects.


So that means that there is Zhuangyu?


I don't agree that 汉语 is Mandarin which is 普通话. 汉语 is the Chinese language since 汉 refers to all Han Chinese who don't all speak Mandarin. 中文specifically refers to written Chinese (i.e. the characters).


It is analogous to English and British. A somewhat touchy issue, in a case.


Colloquially at least, "I speak X" and "I can speak X" mean the same thing


会 can mean can (know how), or will. Without context, wouldn't "I will speak a little bit of Chinese", be okay?


Yes, but. 會 expresses a learned skill or future occurance. But typically, the future tense use expresses "possibility" or a trend. Your example would more often mean "theres a good chance I will speak chinese sometime in the future" A phrase much more rare than the option allowed here.


How would I clearly say "I will speak a little Chinese".


It's an odd choice.


I know how to speak a little Chinese? Feels natural in English.


literal translation "I am able to ......." should be accepted


我會說一點兒漢語。 In Taiwan "兒" is seldom used. Besides, "漢語" is not a common word in Taiwan, when you use "中文" without any detailed context, we assume that you mean "Mandarin Chinese".


"I can speak some Chinese" got marked wrong.


I have no idea when to use "汉语" and when to use "中文".


It depends how pedantic you are. Most of the time you can use them interchangeably, but technically 语 refers to the spoken language and 文 to the spoken and written language. If you say 英语 it means you can speak English, if you say 英文 it could imply that you're good in both.


Very few English speakers would say 'a little bit' of a language... a bit of French, a little Italian... but a little bit almost implies a countable noun. Give me a little bit...d


汉语 is used to make a compound word, for example, 汉语拼音pinynlin. Very few people would say they speak 汉语, that would sound somewhat pretentious.


I'm interested, do others agree this is the case or are there various views?


Does 会 not imply future action? Why would 可以or 能 not be used here?


There's multiple ways to express "can", and most words in Chinese or any other language have more than one meaning.

It would still be good to hear from a native speaker on this though.


会 have two meanings. You can either use it to imply future, or you may also use to to mean "can". So this word will be dependent on the context.


Han yu is Mandarin, not Chinese


"a little Chinese" should be acceptable. "a little bit of Chinese' sounds unnatural in normal spoken English.


You successfully said it in prefect Chinese.


I can speak a little Chinese was not accepted August 23rd.


Accepted: Nov. 19, 2019.


Can 会 mean both "will" and "can"?


This is not English usage


I remember once telling a chinese woman working at a restaurant in a shopping mall 我会说一点儿汉语... She just saw me and said nothing. It was a weird moment...


I know a little Chinese. There he is!


"I can speak Chinese a little" would be an correct alternative. Reported on Nov. 18. 2017.


Should be accepted. In fact, I speak a little bit of Chinese is not typical English.


"A little bit of Chinese" sounds awful in English.


It truely sounds akward and unnatrual


Still not accepted on March 14, 2018

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