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    #1

    preposition for speak

    1. I can speak in two languages.
    2. I can speak two languages.

    Is there possibly any difference in the meaning of the above sentences or are they the same? For example does the second sentence mean that I am more native in speaking or something?

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: preposition for speak

    Yes, there is a possible difference. The second is easily understood because it's the normal collocation. I would have to ask you what you mean with the first. You haven't used the normal phrase, so perhaps you are deliberately saying something different. For example," I can make the sounds of another language, but I don't understand what I'm saying", or something else.

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    #3

    Re: preposition for speak

    The first thing that came through my mind was:
    For 1. I am able to speak with two languages not as fluently as a native.
    For 2. I am native in two languages or I can speak like a native.
    Am I right?

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    #4

    Re: preposition for speak



    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Atabitaraf:

    A few years ago, I read an explanation that seemed very helpful. May I share it with you?

    1. You walk into a hotel in a foreign country and ask the receptionist: "Excuse me, do you speak English?"

    2. You attend a meeting where everybody speaks both Chinese and English. You ask the participants: "For our meeting today, should we speak in Chinese or should we speak in English?"

    3. My sources say that "speak English" is non-contrastive; "speak in English" is contrastive.



    Credit for this information goes to two members of the grammar helpline englishforums. Their user names are "CalifJim" and "Clive."

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    #5

    Re: preposition for speak

    The first sentence is also perhaps suggesting something like although you can speak in two languages, you can't read or write in them.

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    #6

    Re: preposition for speak

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****
    Long time no see dear Parser, you're my teacher in not only English but also ethics as well.
    Thanks for your kind and useful comments.

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