I was asked to introduce myself and what languages I spoke. So I mentioned all the languages I know and in the end, I added "... and I can speak a little bit of German"

After I said that, I was wondering if I used the correct expression. Should it have been:

  1. I can speak some German
  2. I can speak a little German
  3. I can speak a little bit German
  4. I can speak a little bit of German
  5. All 1-4
  6. None of 1-4

Please provide your comments.

  • 3
    Welcome to EL&U. You may be interested in our sister site for English Language Learners, but the short answer is that all are fine except #3, where German would probably be interpreted as an adverbial usage. – choster Jun 24 '14 at 13:52
  • As others have said, all but #3 work. Interestingly enough, in German you would say "Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsche," which translates to "I speak a little German." (Well, I think it is interesting, at least.) – RaneWrites Jun 24 '14 at 18:30
  • @MrsLannister, you made a good point connecting the German translation. – KSK Jun 25 '14 at 5:13

Any of 1,2 or 4, I would say; but they imply a subtly different amount of knowledge, with 1 being the most and 4 the least.

The form in 3 feels ungrammatical, though I think it might be used in some dialects.

  • 5
    (3) means that you can assume a slight German accent. – Andrew Leach Jun 24 '14 at 14:16
  • 1
    Good point, @Andrew. :-) – Martin McCallion Jun 24 '14 at 14:17
  • Thank you @Andrew. Asking the question was the easy part. Selecting the right answer is tough. – KSK Jun 25 '14 at 5:11

All of them but three are grammatically correct; I think preference probably stems from the dialect of the speaker. Four is more common in the SE US.

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