|Michael: In today’s lesson, we will cover another extremely important phrase, “Can you speak English?” Wait! Wait! Wait! If they can speak English, you probably could just ask, can you speak English and if they can speak English, they will say yes and if they can’t, they will just look at you and walk away but it’s nicer to say to somebody in their own language, can you speak English. It doesn’t assume they should speak English and if they can’t speak English, they at least know what you are saying instead of having this person babbling nonsense at them. That’s always sort of distressing when you are just trying to go shopping. So in Chinese, can you speak English is 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) Let’s do that really slowly, 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) One more time 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) All right, syllable by syllable, tone by tone. 你(nǐ) means you and it is third tone. 会(huì) means to be able to and it is fourth tone, falling tone. 说(shuō) means to speak and it is first tone, flat tone. 英语(yīng yǔ) means English and it is first tone, flat tone and third tone, falling rising tone and the last one is 吗(ma) that has no tone and it just means question mark. It makes the phrase a question. So it is you able to speak English? 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) And now-a-days in China, English is pretty much required subject but most people still don’t speak English. There is more of them around but you can even go to the top university, Beijing University and you go there and you try to speak English to people and you will have trouble finding an English speaker (update: not this case anymore, as of 2016). You might have people grab you by the arm, take you to their friend and he will translate for you but most people you bump into on the street are not going to be able to speak English. So this phrase is useful and necessary and don’t stop studying in Chinese. All right, to close our today’s lesson, we’d like you to practice what we’ve just learned. I will provide you with the English equivalent of a phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You will have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So 加油(jiā yóu)! Okay guys here we go. Can you speak English 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) The problem is that a lot of people have only really studied written English and so their listening comprehension and their ability to speak is just kind of nonexistent. They will understand lots of things you write and if you write a note to them, they will understand it. They might even be able to read an American newspaper but if you taught them in English, they will be lost.