I've being studying Japanese over 3 years by now, but I don't think I've ever encountered a phrase to express "very little", like in a humble "I know Japanese language very little". Can I say 「本当に少し」or anything of this sort? I just don't see it being used. Thank you.
ほんの少し｜just a little
The ほん comes from 本 but the examples in my Progressive dictionary are all use hiragana.
日本語はほんの少ししか知らない。= I only know a little Japanese.
(The extra し makes it a little tricky to say)
In casual speech,
ちょこっと is usually used.
It's more of a modification of
ちょっと somewhat akin to how we say "teeny" to make
tiny seem even smaller.
In addition to answers above:
- ちょっとしか分からない - I can understand not more than a little.
- ちょっとだけ分かる - I understand very little only (this can be perceived as a humble phrase which actually means you are positioning yourself as very knowledgeable).