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  5. "Puhuvatko he kiinaa tai engl…

"Puhuvatko he kiinaa tai englantia?"

Translation:Do they speak Chinese or English?

July 6, 2020



Shouldn't it be vai?


tai/vai make a different question.

This one with "tai" translates as "Do they speak Chinese or English?", you want to know whether these people can speak Chinese, English or maybe even both or neither.

With "vai" the translation would be "Are they speaking Chinese or English", you hear some people speaking and want to know whether the language they are speaking is Chinese or English and the answer is supposed to pick one or the other.


They are different questions, but not like that. Both can be translated as "Do they speak..." or "Are they speaking...". Where they differ is expected answers. With "tai" it is yes/no question with "vai" expected answers are Chinese/English.


No, not really. Tai fits the context better. If you want to read about the difference between tai and vai, this is a good source: https://uusikielemme.fi/finnish-vocabulary/interesting-words/the-difference-between-tai-and-vai/

  • 211

I'm not agree. I'd never use word "tai" in this context. And yes, I am native Finnish.


Why not? "Tai" here just implies that the asker is e.g. hoping that the answer will be that they speak both languages or at least one of them.


"tai" is oftenly used in questions from what I've gathered


So it seems...

Puhutko englantia tai saksaa? = Do you speak [either] English or German? (i.e. one or both...asking about ability)

Puhutko englantia vai saksaa? = Are you speaking English or German? (i.e. which one are you currently speaking?)


In summary:

“Puhuvatko he kiinaa tai englantia?” “Do they speak either Chinese or English?” (“Do they speak either of those languages?”)

“Puhuvatko he kiinaa vai englantia?” ”Do they speak Chinese or English?” (“What language do they speak?”) Or: “Are they speaking Chinese or English?” (“Which language are they speaking?”)

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