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  5. "我们不准说英语。"


Translation:We are not allowed to speak English.

December 4, 2017





ooh now it makes sense :)


Because we'll get in troubl-- oops!


Full immersion :)


因為 Middlebury










"We are not allowed to speak in English" is incorrect??? WHY?


“Speak in English" is technically also correct, but "speak English" is more natural (in American English, anyway.)


Eh, there's a subtle difference thats extraordinarily hard to explain... They're definitely both acceptable and understood by every speaker though and should both be correct for this sentence.


I agree that they're different, but I'm not sure how to explain the difference.


In certain contexts they're effectively the same; they both mean "speak using the English language". They both work in this Duolingo sentence.

However, unlike "speak in English", "speak English" can be used not only to mean "speak, with English being the language used", but also to discuss fluency levels. "You speak English well" means that you're competent at English grammar and you have a good vocabulary.

"You speak in English well", for its part, doesn't sound natural or correct. "You speak well in English", on the other hand, is theoretically possible, but it seems to be referring to your ability to express your thoughts and be persuasive, independently of your actual fluency. And you may also be fluent in another language, say Chinese, but not particularly charming when speaking that language.

[deactivated user]

    Can't 不准 also be translated as "to forbid"? Is "we forbid speaking English" an accurate translation?


    That's a good question. I think your suggestion is indeed a possible interpretation (though I believe "prohibit" or "[do] not allow" would be more likely and somewhat more accurate in terms of nuance than "forbid" – but I could be wrong).

    However, to my mind the more important question raised by your comment is whether this sentence is properly translated as "we do not allow speaking English" or "we are not allowed to speak English", which are very different in meaning.

    Examples available at Linguee suggest it may be the former rather than the latter:

    Chinese native speakers?

    Edit: If I recall correctly (coming back to this page after a long time), a user called Mr.rM, whose comments have all now been removed, responded that it could be either, depending on the context.


    不准 is more like "not allowed" (a less serious attitude)


    forbid is more like 不允许 or 禁止 in Chinese


    Why is "in English" not correct?




    I just realized that in traditional characters, 準 and 准 are different, but in simplified they are both 准 (such as 準備 in simplified becomes 准備). Interesting. Before now I thought 准 was only a simplified character.


    class: speaks english mandarin teacher: 我们不准说英语!!!


    In chinese, you don't have to put a "in" before english


    Is it incorrect to translate this as "we should not speak English"?


    Yes, that's wrong. This is about a clear prohibition, not a suggestion. It's stronger than "should not".


    Must not / mustn’t ?


    It's not bad, but it's not quite accurate.

    Here "不准" specifically refers to something being not being permitted by someone else, i.e. someone other than the person whose actions are prohibited.

    "Must", on the other hand, can refer to an internal admonition. We can tell ourselves we must not do something, even if no one actually prohibits us from doing it.


    Can one also use 准 to say: 我们准说汉语 etc?

    If so, how does it differ from 可以?is it permission vs ability? Is 可以 a broader term?


    My guess is that it's not used in the affirmative, but ultimately I'll have to leave these questions to Mr.rM or another native speaker. ;-)


    你们不准说英语 vs 你们不可以说英语 vs 你们不行说英语 vs 你们不能说英语 How are all these sentences different? I feel like they all mean "You are not allowed to speak English." But I'm not positive.


    I’m going to give this a go:

    你们不准说英语 = you are not allowed to speak (in) English = You are not permitted to speak (in) English.

    你们不可以说英语 sounds a bit odd to me .. it feels like it’s fine as a positive sentence 你们可以 (May I have a piece of cake? You may) ...but not quite native speaker level of flow to use as a negative? But = You may not speak (in) English.

    你们不行说英语 again it feels like you need to say 你们说英语?不行!or 说英语不行!不行 seems to mean “No” or “that’s not ok” or, in my last sentence: “it’s not ok to speak (in) English”. Or “it’s not going to work”. A bit easier to translate into french: ça va or ça ne va pas

    你们不能说英语 = You can’t speak English = you are not able to speak English.

    But I look forward to the actual experts on this. I just tried to answer as an exercise for myself. Wondering what they say :)


    Why does his pronunciation of allowed change in this sentence?


    Do you mean "准"? To me the pronunciations are completely the same, as they should be. Maybe the pronunciation of the independent character is a bit longer than the one in the sentence.


    I do not have access to phonetic characters here, but as I hear it, zhun is pronounced zhwë. Where ë is nasalized shwa. The "n" is not articulated, but realized as a simple nasalization of the previous vowel, like in French or Portuguese.


    What is the relation between 准 here and in 准备 which means to get ready?


    Or is there no difference?


    Same character, different use. It's common for Chinese characters to be used in different compounds and to take on different (but often related) senses, but also you can see a lot of convergence, divergence, and trading places if you look into the etymological history. Wiktionary can be helpful for the different senses of a given character, as can a mobile dictionary like Hanping. (I've never regretted purchasing the pro version of Hanping and the camera add-on.)


    Additionally, in Traditional Chinese, they are actually different characters. 准 (to be permitted) is the same in both Simplified and Traditional, but 'zhǔn' in terms of preparation is 準 in Traditional, and was simplified to 准. A lot of characters that are supposedly used in very different meanings are in fact different characters in Traditional script, not to say there aren't characters that aren't used in very different contexts. For example,

    发 means both "to discharge" (发展 fāzhǎn; to develop) and "hair" (头发 tóufǎ: head hair) in Simplified, but in Traditional the characters are respectively 發 for "to discharge" (發展) and 髮 for "hair" (頭髮).


    Thanks for the long response.


    This is such 不是


    Sí lo es bien, ĉar mi povas paroli pli multaj lingvoj ;)


    "Sí, está * bien, mi povas paroli multajn * aliajn * lingvojn * ĉiuokaze"

    Tamen, mi diros ke qué quisiste decir 我明白了, so congrats! :)

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