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  5. "他不说汉语。"

"他不说汉语。"

Translation:He does not speak Chinese.

November 23, 2017

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Terry592353

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 ! :-(


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nikki1428

why are they saying 汉语 instead of 中文?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/varigby

You can use either.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephMauc

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctorg48

Thanks, the link to Chinese wikipedia is very useful


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ling_G23

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HaavGa

Could you say 普通话 as well?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

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.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesJac316108

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesJac316108

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FAe41

It's same mean


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2lMx1j7K

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Yes, that's another way to say it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/choccymiIk

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Yes, that's right.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AwesomeGirl1982

Wow, you guys are good at chinese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Juan1149

Is 说话 correct?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CharlesJac316108

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean915248

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

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".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean915248

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?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/konnilee

Shouldn't it be 他不会说汉语?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TellTheSeal

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.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Anderson856127

I learned it the mandarin way first


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HungarianOctopus

说 was not an option for me, why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctorg48

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RixMorales

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


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctorg48

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).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiloszLakomy

她不说汉语? :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/G0n12

It is bery hard


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SeanLogan11

Does "saying" also work?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robbadob

He does not saying Chinese?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JinnyY.

Mandarin should be accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cagprado

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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