Sorry, I do not speak Portuguese.

estudante1

Member
US English
What is the best way to say "Sorry, I do not speak Portuguese"
"I can only say a few words"

The reason I am asking is because if I say "Oi, tudo bem" and they reply "tudo bom" and they start talking to me. I need a way to let them know I can not actually speak portuguese, that I can only say a few words.
 
  • batmacumba

    Member
    Brazil, Portuguese
    "Desculpe, eu não falo português" and "Eu só sei falar umas palavras" would be a possible translation. And pronounce the phrase the way you wish, since it will emphasize exactly what you are saying.
     

    estudante1

    Member
    US English
    "Eu só sei falar umas palavras" <= Directly translated, doesn't this say "I only know speak a words", so what let's the person know I am trying to say [I only know speak a "few" words]?

    Shouldn't I have to add a word like "pouco" to mean "little" as in "I can only speak a little" or "I only speak portuguese a little bit"
     

    Orreaga

    Senior Member
    USA; English
    "umas" does mean "a few" or "some" (you need to know grammar for that, it's probably not in the dictionary)
    If someone asks you if you speak Portuguese and you reply "um pouco", they will probably still expect you to be able to carry on a basic conversation. Better stick with "Eu só sei falar umas palavras".
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Eu só sei falar umas palavras" <= Directly translated, doesn't this say "I only know speak a words", so what let's the person know I am trying to say [I only know speak a "few" words]?
    This expression cannot be translated literally. Don't worry, Batmacumba's suggestion means what you asked for.

    Shouldn't I have to add a word like "pouco" to mean "little" as in "I can only speak a little" or "I only speak portuguese a little bit"
    That idea is conveyed by the plural indefinite pronoun umas.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    "Algumas poucas" seems a little redundant to me. We would normally just say "algumas", don't you agree?
     

    LBL

    Senior Member
    Brazil, Portuguese
    Yep, sure. The redundance in "poucas" was intended to emphasize he speaks few to no portuguese. But I agree with you, it'd be far more common to say that phrase with only "algumas" instead of "algumas poucas".
     

    IsaC

    Senior Member
    Portugal - português
    There is always the simple way:

    "Não falo português" "Só sei dizer umas coisinhas!" :cool:

    But it would be better if you said this in your own language because if someone said this to me I would think that if he can say this he probably speaks a little bit more.

    And please don't say " algumas poucas", that's really weird and doesn't make sense.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top