Do you speak Chinese? If so, what do you want to say? This is a common question that people ask when they meet someone who speaks a foreign language. The answer may be either yes or no, depending on the situation.
If someone asks if you speak Chinese, they are usually asking whether you are able to carry out conversations in Chinese. If this is the case, then the appropriate response is “Wo hen hao” (“I am very good”).
If someone asks if you can speak Chinese, but then proceeds to talk about something else, it is acceptable to say “Wo bu hui shuo” (“I don’t know how”). In this case, it would be better not to respond with “Bu ting hao” (“It’s not good”), which could imply that your Chinese is poor.
If someone asks if you speak Chinese and also requests that you tell them something (e.g., “Tell me something”), then the appropriate response is “Guo yi ge diannao de jiao bu hui shuo” (“I can’t tell jokes”).
If someone asks if you understand English or Japanese instead of Chinese and doesn’t specify what.
Last modified: August 1, 2022