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When explaining to someone if you can speak Mandarin, there are people who suggest saying 我會講國語 and others who suggest 我講國語.

Appparently, 會講 suggests a higher level of competence whereas 講 alone suggests only a basic level?

Can anyone shed more light on when to use 會講國語 vs. 講國語?

  • 讲某一语言 speak a certain language (as mother tongue (unless stated otherwise)), 会讲某一语言, can speak a certain language – user6065 Sep 24 '17 at 0:14
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我會講國語 means you are able to speak Mandarin(probably be good at it), which is often used when explaining to someone if you can speak Mandarin. You might put 我可以講(一點)國語, in case that you might not be very good at it.

Compared with 我會講國語, 我講國語 doesn't imply whether you are good at it or not.

我講國語 is often used when asked what type of/how many languages you use or speak. For example,

A: 你講幾種語言 ?

B: 我講國語,英語,...

... ...

A: 你講什麼語言 ?

B: 我講國語

A side note: in mainland, we say 普通话 or 中文 for Mandarin. I heard TWN folks said 國語, and maybe HK folks as well.

  • thanks. the key explanation was 會講 means you are able to speak Mandarin (probably be good at it) while 可以講 means you might not be very good at it. – Crashalot Sep 25 '17 at 5:14
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When you say '會講國語', you are saying that you have the capability of speaking Chinese. Maybe someone asked whether you could or someone doubted about that. When you say '講國語', it means Chinese is your mother tongue, or Chinese is your preferred language for communication, it's just like 'I speak Chinese' in English.

Moreover, I think '講國語' is right absorbed from English though most people may not be aware of that. It's not quite native from a traditional view. But people accept that in recent years. Chinese uses adverbs a lot while English prefers tenses. '講國語' is more like an example of simple present tense in English. In English, simple present tense express rich meanings in a simple form. Well-educated people 'transplant' this in their own language without even noticing that. But it sounds a little bit weird to a person who does not speak any foreign language at all. Anyway languages are evolving all the time.

  • Wow this is such a thoughtful, insightful answer! The comparison between 講國語 and present-tense English, and 講國語 not being "native" Chinese, seems to perfectly articulate what friends were trying to say (but failing to do so). Would love to award you the points, but someone else already posted a pretty good answer and don't want to upset him. Hope you will contribute more in the future, though. This was awesome! Thanks so much! – Crashalot Sep 27 '17 at 15:47
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‘會講國語’ Sounds like Hongkong speak!

我会讲汉语。 or 我会讲中文。 might be more appropriate, at least in 江苏。

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This is exactly the same as I speak English vs. I can speak English.

If you can appropriately distinguish the uses for above phrases, you can do the same for 會講國語 vs. 講國語.

Whoever tells you that you are wrong, does not know what s/he is talking about.

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