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I was wondering, how many ways are there of asking someone if they can speak Japanese? After a while of learning japanese this is the only thing that I'm not sure of how to say. And is there only one or two way(s) of saying it, or are there many ways to do it? also I've had this phrase pop up in my mind randomly, can someone tell me if it's correct? (日本語ができるよね). (To be frankly honest I'd be pretty surprised if it turned out to be correct)

  • the most used one is "日本語オッケー?" – oldergod Jul 30 '16 at 5:56
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    ^ I would rather say 日本語でもいいですか?/ 日本語でもいい? I don't think 日本語オッケー? is the most used phrase, at least – Chocolate Jul 30 '16 at 6:35
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I think you could say:

  • 日本語はわかりますか?(polite) / 日本語はわかる?(casual) -- Literally: "Do you understand Japanese?"
  • 日本語は話せますか?(polite) / 日本語は話せる?(casual)
  • 日本語はしゃべれますか?(This is the polite form, but using the verb しゃべる sounds pretty casual/colloquial) / 日本語はしゃべれる?(casual) 
  • 日本語はできますか?(polite) / 日本語はできる?(casual) -- Literally: "Can you do Japanese?"

To sound more formal/polite, you could use 尊敬語 (honorific speech), as in:

  • 日本語はおわかりになりますか?
  • 日本語はおできになりますか?

(... but 「日本語は話されますか?」 「日本語はお話しになりますか/お話しになれますか?」 sound a bit unnatural to me.)

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  • Why "は" and not "が"? – Serene Potato Jul 30 '16 at 11:50
  • @SerenePotato If you start the sentence with あなた… (eg あなた日本語わかりますか? 山田さん英語話せますか?) then I think you'd use が. As you may know, in Japanese we often omit the 1st and 2nd person pronouns (あなた, わたし etc.), and here in this case too I think it's more natural (and politer in most situations) to leave out あなたは and say 日本語はわかりますか? 日本語は話せますか? – Chocolate Jul 31 '16 at 0:19
  • @SerenePotato - Using は this way also places a slight contrastive emphasis on Japanese. You might think of it as "I know you speak English, but do you speak Japanese?" – William Mar 14 '17 at 14:40
  • @Shoko - I would only expect a native Spanish speaker to come up with「日本語は話されますか?」 as that form is the correct one for stating - on a sign, etc. - that "Spanish is spoken here". – William Mar 14 '17 at 14:41
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日本語ができるよね is translated as " You can speak Japanese, can't you?".

I came up with the phrase of "Can you speak Japanese" in Japanese like

あなたは、日本語ができるか(できますか)?, 日本語が話せるか(話せますか)?, 日本語がしゃべれるか(しゃべれますか).

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