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  5. "他不说汉语。"


Translation:He does not speak Chinese.

November 23, 2017



Gee, I translated the above with "He doesn't speak chinese" - which Duolingo didn't accept. It corrected me with " ...does not... " Gee, how strict is this ! :-(


why are they saying 汉语 instead of 中文?


You can use either.


说 refers to spoken language, while 文 refers to written language.


It's a tempting distinction with some validity, but it's not strictly adhered to in practice.

The terms are "汉语" and "中文" are generally equivalent, though apparently subject to regional preference, as set out in this Chinese Wikipedia article:

In China, both terms are fairly common, in my experience. In Taiwan, "汉语" is rare.

The terms don't overlap completely in their usage (e.g. "中文" rather than "汉语" would be a course of post-secondary study for native Chinese speakers equivalent to "English" in the English-speaking world), but generally either can be used to describe the spoken language (and by extension, its transcription in writing).


Thanks, the link to Chinese wikipedia is very useful


Thank you for the information, I never really thought about the difference even I speak 中文/汉语 everyday, here's a lingot.


Could you say 普通话 as well?


It's not really accurate for "Chinese", which is a broader term. "普通话" specifically means Mandarin.

Even more specifically, it's the mainland term for Modern Standard (Mandarin) Chinese (called "国语" in Taiwan and "华语" in Singapore and Malaysia). We usually simply call this "Mandarin" in English, but Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese is derived from 官话, the language of the mandarins (senior-level Chinese bureaucrats), which is the historical technical meaning of "Mandarin".

(Mandarin as the language of the officials was in turn based on dialects existing in and around Beijing, which are still part of the so-called Mandarin language group as it's described by linguists.)


You can't use either. This is why! 汉语 means Chinese language. A Chinese person understands the difference between 中文 which also means Chinese and 汉语 which is Chinese as a language. And in this context, the correct word is 汉语.


You can indeed use either, and native Chinese speakers do, with the caveat that there are some regional preferences; e.g., "汉语" is rarely used in Taiwan.


汉语 means Chinese language. A Chinese person understands the difference between 中文 which also means Chinese and 汉语 which is Chinese as a language. And in this context, the correct word is 汉语.


It's same mean


I was learning Chinese from a book some time ago, and I remember seeing something like "中国话" for "Chinese". Is this correct?


Yes, that's another way to say it.


Would adding 会 to this sentence make it "He can't speak Chinese" like, “他不会说汉语”?


Yes, that's right.


Wow, you guys are good at chinese


Is 说话 correct?


汉语 means Chinese language. A Chinese person understands the difference between 中文 which also means Chinese and 汉语 which is Chinese as a language. And in this context, the correct word is 汉语.


Does this mean "He speaks none of the Sinic languages" or "He does not speak Standard Mandarin?"


It means "He doesn't speak Chinese", i.e. any of the dialects of the Han Chinese people. It doesn't refer specifically to Mandarin, but it also probably doesn't include the Greater Bai languages, so it depends on what you include in "Sinitic".


Thank you. This skill has confused me because I was taught never to say "Chinese" because the different dialects are basically completely separate languages. So it seems that what Duolingo translates as "Chinese" can refer to any dialect spoken by the Han Chinese, which in the context of this course probably means the dialect we are learning. Which Chinese people are Han?


Most Chinese citizens are Han — 92% according to official Chinese statistics — and accordingly so are most Chinese emigrants. The Han are who we generally think of when we think of Chinese ethnicity, I would say.

There are also ethnic minorities in/from China (i.e. current or former Chinese citizens who aren't Han), and although many of them have largely mixed with the Han people, some groups still speak non-Sinitic languages.


Shouldn't it be 他不会说汉语?


With the 会, that would mean "He does not know how to speak Chinese" or "he does not have the capacity to speak Chinese;" the sentence as written means "He does not speak Chinese;" perhaps the former is the reason for the latter, but the sentence does not actually specify: that is, it is possible that he can speak Chinese, but he simply does not, for whatever reason.

他不说汉语。 Translation: He does not speak Chinese.


I learned it the mandarin way first


说 was not an option for me, why?


I have been told by a Chinese person that VERY few Chinese people who say that they speak 'han'


Is "he does not speak Chinese language" wrong? 语 yǔ means language right?


You are correct as far as a literal translation of the Chinese words, but in English we do not say "Chinese language" (or French language or German language) we only say Chinese (or French or German).


她不说汉语? :)


It is bery hard


Does "saying" also work?


He does not saying Chinese?


Mandarin should be accepted


It should not, Mandarin is more specific, 普通话!汉语 is simply "Chinese (language)" and it's broader than Mandarin!

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