According to line dictionary, both of these mean 'language'. From looking at the examples list, 语言 seems to be a more literal translation of 'language', for example if one wanted to say "Chinese is my favourite language", I think one could write this as 中语是我最喜欢的语言. On the other hand 言语 seems to be used when referring to someone's 'use of language' as opposed to languages from different countries. For instance if one wanted to translate "he used aggressive language" one would use 言语.

Is this the right kind of idea?

  • BTW is 中语 the correct word? I feel it is either 中文 or 汉语...
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 11:20
  • bkrs:言语I [spoken language; speech] 说出来的话; 说出来的一个词 II [speak out] [方]∶招呼; 回答; 开口 回答呀, 别不言语 III [speech; answer; speak; talk] 说话 与人罕言语。 --明·魏禧《大铁椎传》 市人之言语。 --唐·杜牧《阿房宫赋》 语言:language (general,common term, much greater usage frequency),see examples at jukuu, which dictionary would give a single word as translation?
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 11:22
  • "lone dictionary"= LINE dictionary? users recommend looking beyond the first entry at the many compounds which clarify the difference, also click on the Examples button please strike claim concerning "usage frequency" from preceding comment
    – user6065
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 11:45
  • 1
    @Blaszard, you got it right. it should be 中文 or 汉语.
    – dan
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


言语 is not a frequently used words. It is a spoken word in north(at least Beijing,north-easten).

It means 'talk(talking), speak(speaking)' ,Depending on the context, it can take the place of any words that means 'talk or speak with someone'.

你需要跟我言语一声儿. (言语 means consult, ask or notify... )

"he used aggressive language"

It is not incorrect to use 言语. But 语言 or 话 is more common.

  • Besides, what does the bold sentence mean?
    – iBug
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 2:47

As a native Chinese living in mainland China, I haven't heard or seen a single 言语 in the past 10 years. AFAIK this word is almost extinct and can only be found in old books.

Try to avoid saying 言语 because people will have an increased chance to get confused. Depending on your intention you can use 说 (v.), 话(n.), 提醒(notify, v.) instead.

你要跟我一声儿 ✔
你要跟我提醒一声儿 ✔ (less common, scenario dependent)

  • 1
    You can not criticize by your personal experience or your identity. What you haven't heard or seen doesn't mean it's wrong. Do you think you know all the slangs and dialects from China? I noticed that you like to declare your nationality in your answer. It's not wrong, of course. But it doesn't help too. There are many people from other countries have gained a high level of competence in Chinese. Nationality is not a thing.
    – sfy
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 3:48

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