"你能说几种语言?"

Translation:How many languages can you speak?

December 20, 2017

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/MoVprN

How many languages do you speak... Should be correct

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Janus159341

For language skills, the verb should be 会 (can, able to). 能 denotes physical capability, like if you are able to attend a conference (and are not thousands of miles away, making it physically impossible) or able to lift a heavy object. Unless, of course, the question is asking about how many languages the person is physically capable of speaking (which would exclude, for instance, an alien language that requires different organs to speak it).

December 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Mokuhazush

That is how I was taught as well, but it seems like a lot of Chinese people don't really care about that difference :)

January 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/keyongming

I think its like the "can"/"may" distinction in English. We were taught to strictly separate them by our English teachers (or stern mothers!), but speakers do not maintain such firm distinctions.

May 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/CallMeDPP

...yeah, some Chinese don't really care about that.

(I do.l

April 18, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/cafe_disco

Jumping off of Janus159341's post, "can" can be translated as either 会, 能, or 可以 ... but the connotation of each word is different. I'm not a native Chinese speaker, but as I understand it, 会 is used for knowing how to perform a skill, 能 is used for being physically able to do something, and 可以 is used for having permission to do something. So, for example:

我会开车 means "I can drive" (as in, I know how to drive a car, because I've completed my driving tests, etc.)

我能开车 means "I am able to drive" (as in, I'm not drunk at the moment, so I'm physically capable of driving)

我可以开车 means "I can/may drive" (as in, I have permission to drive)

June 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JJXK50

Thanks for this detailed clarification. This is one of the best explanations I've seen. Your use of examples really helps me understand it better.

November 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/cafe_disco

no problem :)

November 26, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/caltomare6114

"How many languages do you speak?" should also be correct no?

February 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Saisai11

"How many languages do you speak" is correct - from a Chinese

March 16, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/fourthwall1

They keep marking so many correct things wrong, i popped open google translate to check and noticed a pattern. Guess what pattern i noticed?

March 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TeamLeo7

I speak 5, English Spanish Chinese Bird and Dog

June 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/dancelion21

How many different languages can you speak should also be accepted.

June 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Evanstackie

This site is really nitpicky, isn't it? My Chinese teachers would say that's correct.

February 22, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/VortexYT

這一道應該是 幾多。 如果只有 幾 好像不好

October 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/VortexYT

到*

October 31, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jthe_napkin123

CAN YOU SPEAK is what you are CAPABLE of doing, but DO YOU SPEAK is what you ACTUALLY do.

October 25, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jthe_napkin123

plz give a lingot

October 25, 2018
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