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What changes, in these phrases? The change is the し for the せ. A friend told me that the second one was better for saying I speak little japanese.

私は少し日本語を話ます。

私は少し日本語を話ます。

  • A friend told me that the second one was better for saying I speak little japanese >> "I speak little Japanese" (w/o "a") would be 私は日本語がほとんど話せません, whereas 私は少し日本語を話せます would be "I can speak a little Japanese" – Chocolate Jul 1 '16 at 22:58
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私は少し日本語を話します。

I will speak a little Japanese. (starting now)

私は少し日本語を話せます。

I can speak a little Japanese. (the ability to speak)

On a side note, a quick grammar fix (leaving word order as is)

私は少し日本語話せます。

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Just copied & pasted from my half-year-old answer (though the question itself isn't a duplicate):


Though I translated 日本語を話す into "speak Japanese", the verb doesn't have "be able to speak" sense, so every time you have to explicitly use potential form when you question about ability.

日本語が話せますか? Do you speak Japanese?

compared to:

日本語を話しますか? Are you going to speak Japanese?


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The second one is the potential form of the verb. I can speak a little Japanese. Although when using the potential, が is usually preferred over を.

日本語話せます

Here are some references on the potential form.


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