"I can speak Japanese."

Translation:日本語がはなせます。

3/7/2018, 8:04:18 AM

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AliceHerol

I think that the ap LingoDeer has a good info page on this in their second lesson, but it only states that the pronunciation is changed and does not really say why either. I have been using both aps because that one seems great for sentence structure, and this one feels less painfully dragging.

3/18/2018, 10:24:36 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bobb42760

Hah! First comment...! Anyway a good time for a honest question:

Why is 'では' spoken as 'de-wa' but 'がはなせ' as 'ga-ha-na-se'?

Whats even the difference between 'は' 'では' and 'がはなせ'? Are there even more of these subject markers?

Ty already :)

3/7/2018, 8:04:18 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/mfazzolari
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this sentence literally reads as "nihongo ga hanasemasu". the reason that は is pronounced like "ha" not "wa" in this sentence is because the は is part of the verb はなす (話す, hanasu = to speak). 「はなせます」literally means "can speak".

は is pronounced as "wa" when it's the topic particle as sierraw13 has already commented. が (which isn't part of はなせ) is the identifier particle. these are concepts that are pretty difficult for native english speakers to understand (myself included) so i'd look them up to gain a better understanding (i still haven't wrapped my head around them). but i know if you change them in certain sentences it can alter the meaning. like this:

私はジョンです (watashi wa jon desu = i am john)

私がジョンです (watashi ga jon desu = i am john)

they translate as the same thing but they have different implications. in the first sentence, the important part is that you are john. it's sort of like saying "as for me, (i) am john". that's how i've seen others describe it. on the other hand, the second sentence, the important part is that you are john. this would probably be in response to a question such as "who is john"?

i think が is used here because the sentence involves a potential form of the verb (i can speak japanese), but it would be nice if someone could clarify that.

では is another such particle that's really a combination of two other particles. you've probably seen では in ではない (de wa nai) or ではありません (de wa arimasen), which both mean "am not", "are not", "is not", etc. in this case, the は is pronounced as "wa".

in summary, は is pronounced "wa" when it's used as a particle & "ha" for anything else.

sorry if this is a little confusing as i'm still learning too. hope this helps :)

3/9/2018, 2:50:59 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris753291

Yes, you use が when using potential form.

6/14/2018, 4:41:38 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Ricardo-Learno
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That helped a lot, thanks!

10/14/2018, 8:10:20 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/akoakini
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when は is use, it just focus on the subject english, like is english something speakable (to you), when が is used , the subject is implied, (私は)英語が話せます

7/30/2018, 10:24:51 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lars285454
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The topic, not the subject. In these examples, the spoken language is always the subject because of the potiential form.

9/6/2018, 12:16:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/SierraW13

Are you asking why は is sometimes pronounced "wa" and sometimes "ha"? Most of the time it is "ha" but when it is used as a particle it is "wa". If you look up stuff about the particle は or just particles in general that should help clear things up better than I can.

3/7/2018, 8:09:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Chris753291

The reason は is pronounced 'wa' when used as a particle is because of historic pronunciation. This is a good explanation: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/379/why-are-the-particles-は-ha⇒wa-へ-he⇒e-and-を-wo⇒o-not-spelled-phonet

6/14/2018, 4:37:32 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Bjorn_SE

Why the heck do they throw in a phrase in Potential verb form, already in a tier 4 assignment? We have hardly even touched verbs in their default present form at that point. It took me very long trying to figure out why it was not 日本語がはなします and how the i was suddenly turned into an e. 話す to 話せる

Isn't there supposed to be some logical progression to how we first learn to use simple verbs in their most basic forms, then you add more complex verb forms such as the potential form?

Anyway, for anyone else who got stuck wondering what is going on in this sentence, this page was helpful to me:

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/potential

6/12/2018, 6:44:16 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Lucathedem

Wow, I can't translate "I can speak Japanese" to Japanese. That's depressing.

10/5/2018, 1:31:37 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Gregory486151

What's the correct way to say "I speak English and Russian"? Is it "Eigo to roshiago ga hanasemasu"?

4/29/2018, 1:54:22 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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英語とロシア語が話せます (eigo to roshiago ga hanasemasu)

I can speak English and Russian.

英語とロシア語を話します (eigo to roshiago o hanashimasu)

I speak English and Russian.

11/12/2018, 11:39:32 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/reinibo

Isn't 日本語 the object in this sentence (with a left out watashi as subject)? So why isn't it 日本を?

4/30/2018, 9:57:19 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/RVJioWts

はなせます ("can speak") is an intransitive verb. It doesn't have a direct object and thus doesn't take を. You're not actively saying that you're doing the action of speaking, you're just stating that you have the passive ability of being able to speak.

If you used はなします instead ("speak"), that would be the active form and would have a direct object and a を. はなせます is called the "potential form" of はなします, because you're saying that you have the potential to speak, not that you're actually speaking.

7/5/2018, 8:53:21 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ErickRodri739619

Thats what im unsure of as well. I remember being taught 日本語を話します

5/30/2018, 11:05:07 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jaidengen

Why do you have to use "I" (watashi) aometimes but not here?

9/12/2018, 2:42:33 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Ohcinemod

You have to include 私 when the subject (or topic of conversation) isn't obvious. In this example, the subject is /technically/ the Japanese language (because it has a が), but it's gathered from context that the speaker is referring to themselves.

This is also why it's unnecessary to include 私 in sentences such as the following: 「ジョンともうします」 「おちゃが好きです」

For similar reasons, あなた is excluded in sentences where the listener is clearly the subject: 「英語をはなせますか?」

(Please note that the above examples have replaced several kanji with their hiragana readings.)

9/16/2018, 12:57:11 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Luis705650

Shouldn't は be used here instead of が ?

4/14/2018, 11:52:55 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Ohcinemod

This is a little confusing for non-native speakers (myself included), but が indicates the subject of the sentence, and は indicates the topic of conversation. In this sentence, the topic of conversation is (probably) not the Japanese language, so we don't use は here.

See mfazzolari's explanation above for a better (and more detailed) explanation.

As a side note, 「日本語を話せます」 is also an accepted answer (minus the quotation marks).

4/14/2018, 7:38:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Yoshibro26

why が

6/19/2018, 6:37:27 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/ender0703
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how about "私は日本語が話せます"

7/25/2018, 8:03:13 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/XKraller
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What about 日本語を話すことができます?

9/8/2018, 12:56:51 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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I think it would be accepted if you submitted an error report.

11/12/2018, 11:29:12 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Pam518581

Form 'masu' has to be used? Or only when you want to be formal?

10/9/2018, 8:50:28 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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英語が話す (eigo ga hanasu) would be correct if you were speaking with your friends or peers.

11/12/2018, 11:25:50 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/FadyJaber

英語 を 話せます

Ive seen the use of を instead of が in some cases, whats the reason behind it ?

10/17/2018, 12:13:48 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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を is the grammatically correct particle to use with the regular form of the verb: 英語を話します (eigo o hanashimasu, I speak English). が is the grammatically correct particle to use with the potential form: 英語が話せます (eigo ga hanasemasu, I can speak English). Some native speakers have started using を with the potential form, though.

From StackExchange:

In the が + potential construction, the focus is on the noun.

新聞が読める (what I am able to read is newspapers [as opposed to other written media])

ここで切符が買えますか (is this where tickets [as opposed to other items for sale] can be bought?)

In the を + potential construction, the focus is on the entire phrase.

新聞を読める (what I am able to do is read newspapers)

ここで切符を買えますか (is this where I am able to buy tickets [as opposed to doing some other action]?)

を + potential is not yet considered standard, but has begun to gain acceptance among some speakers.

(Paraphrased from Japanese: The Spoken Language)

11/12/2018, 11:23:46 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/ReneePollock

I thought it was はなします?

1/17/2019, 6:53:33 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Swisidniak
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ます - "Speaks" - present/future polite form - transitive
日本語を話します - I (will) speak Japanese

ます - "Can speak" - potential polite form - intransitive
日本語が話せます - I (am able to) speak Japanese

1/17/2019, 7:01:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/musicalSaranader

So how would I say I can speak a little Japanese?

2/25/2019, 12:52:10 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/IsolaCiao
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日本語が少し話せます。

Nihongo ga sukoshi hanasemasu.

I can speak a little Japanese.

2/25/2019, 4:38:33 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/musicalSaranader

ありがとうございます

2/25/2019, 1:29:11 PM
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