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みなさんこんにちは!

Let's say a 日本人 asked you 日本語ですか? or whatever to ask yes/no if you can speak 日本語 or not.

If you can KIND OF speak it... but not really(or at least not well...), and thus wanna answer with a 'A bit', or 'sort-a', or 'not well' instead of はい or そうだ, what might y'all suggest one use in such a scenario?

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  • Please note that 日本語ですか means not "Do you speak Japanese?" but "Is that Japanese?" Or did you mean 日本語できる? – naruto Oct 12 '16 at 14:51
  • @Naruto can you say "日本語できる" wouldn't you need a nominalizer as "日本語ことができる" or in casual speech is okay to not use one? – Felipe Chaves de Oliveira Oct 15 '16 at 5:46
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One should mostly answer with "すこしだけ"(just a little) even once you become quite advanced. Japanese modesty in all it's splendor.

If you get bored of it, you can make up new fancy ways like "ほとんど大丈夫です"(I'm able for the most part) or "なんとなくできる"(I can somehow manage). But the last 2 really feels like modesty and therefor will be taken as you are quite good. If you are at a really low level, it might be good to specify it as to make it obvious your are not being modest. Like "まあ、まだちょっとたいへんですけど。"(sort of, but it's still kinda hard). But for the most part "すこしだけ" will be suit all cases.

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  • what do you think of [ちょっと話します] ? – Felipe Chaves de Oliveira Oct 12 '16 at 5:32
  • that is fine too, you could go with "ちょっと話せます。" (implies that you "can" rather than "do") but both are usable. – stack reader Oct 12 '16 at 5:35

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