Saying you don't speak a language

The following table shows, for each language L (first column), how to say "I don't speak L" in L.

Entries in green have been confirmed by ≥2 independent sources.

Language Written Pronunciation (IPA) Transliteration Spoken (normally) Spoken (slowly) Meaning Infinitive Notes
ar (Arabic) أنا ﻻ أَتحدَّثُ اللُّغة العَرَبِيَّة Ana la atahaddathu (a)llughato (a)larabiyah The "th" in "atahaddathu" is pronounced like in the English word "Thunder" [.wav] [.wav] "speak" حدَّث
  • The Infinitive column gives the past tense, which in the Arabic language is considered the root of a word, that is the 3 letter past tense verb which can ba used to get all the other forms of a given word.
  • Via Mohammad Noureldin
Diacritical marks are usually omitted (e.g., "اللغة العربية"), but the dots are inseparable parts of the letters.
cs (Czech) Nemluvím český [ˈnɛmluviːm ˈt͡ʃɛskiː] nemluvim cheski TBP TBP "speak" mluvit  
cn (Chinese) 我不说中文 TBD wo bu shu'o 'djong-when TBP TBP "speak" TBP  
da (Danish) Jeg taler ikke dansk TBD jeg → "yai" TBP TBP "speak" at tale or forstår ("forstoar"), "to understand"
de (German) Ich spreche kein Deutsch TBD i[ç] shpre[ç]e ka()yn doh()'each
[ç] is halfway between 'χ' and 'sh'
"Deutsch" is pronounced like "doil" with a "-ch" at the end ("ch" as in "lunch")
TBP TBP "speak" sprechen  
en (English) I don't speak English - - TBP TBP "speak" to speak  
es (Spanish) No hablo español TBD silent "h"; "ñol" = 'nyol' TBP TBP "speak" hablar  
eo (Esperanto) Mi ne parolas Esperanton /mi ne pa.ˈro.las es.peˈran.ton/ phonetic TBP TBP "speak" paroli in Cyrillic script: ми нэ паролас эспэрантон. Esperanton is the accusative (direct object) form of the noun.
fr (French) Je ne parle pas français TBD "Je" like 's' in 'treasure';
"pas" with silent 's';
"français" = "fran-seh"
TBP TBP "speak" parler  
it (Italian) Non parlo italiano TBD   TBP TBP "speak" parlare  
he (Hebrew) אֲנִי לֹא יוֹדֵעַ עִבְרִית a'ni lo yo'de'a Ivrit pending pending pending "know" יָדַע, לָדַעַת Diacritical marks are usually omitted (e.g., "עברית"). The first form is for a male speaker, the second for a female speaker.
אֲנִי לֹא יוֹדַעַת עִבְרִית a'ni lo yo'da'at Ivrit pending pending pending
jp (Japanese) 私は日本語が話せません /wataɕi wa nihoꜜɴgo ga hanasemasen/ watashi wa nihongo ga hanasemasen pending pending "speak" 話し 私 = I; 日本語 = Japanese; 話す = speak; が話せません = can't speak
nds (Low German) Ick snack keen Plattdüütsch TBP keen rhymes with English "ten". A single "ü" is pronounced as in "über" or "Rüdiger"; that is: as in English "boom" but with more-rounded lips. The double "üü" is pronounced as a long "ü". TBP TBP "speak" snacken Spoken in north Germany and the east Netherlands. Pronounced similarly to German, a bit softer.
nl (Dutch) Ik spreek geen nederlands TBP "spreek" rhymes with 'tech'; "geen" close to Greek χ and German '-chen' TBP TBP "speak" spreken nederlands is pronounced "nay-der-lands" with a short "nay"
no (Norwegian) Jeg snakker ikke norsk TBP jeg → "yea" TBP TBP "speak" snakke same as Danish
pl (Polish) Nie mówię po polsku [n̠ʲɛ ˈmuvʲɛ̃ pɔ ˈpɔls̪ku] nye muvye po polsku TBP TBP "speak" mówić old Polish: mołwić.
ro (Romanian) Eu nu vorbesc românește. TBD "Eu" like "Yo" (rhymes with "snow"); "ș" like "sh" TBP TBP "speak" a vorbi The noun form is română; românește is an adverb.
ru (Russian) Я не говорю по‐русски TBD ya nye govoryu po ruski
(or 'gavaryu' in some dialects)
TBP TBP "speak" говорить  
sl (Slovenian) Ne govorim slovensko Nɜ gɒvɒrím slɒvénskɒ   TBP "speak" govoriti The name of the language is slovenščina, whereas slovensko is an adverb.
The variant based on the verb "to know" is less formal.
Ne znam slovensko Nɜ znɑ́m slɒvénskɒ "know" znati
sv (Swedish) Jag pratar inte svenska TBD "Jag" ~ 'Yawg' [.m4a] [.webm] "speak" prata via Joar Wandborg
tr (Turkish) Türkçe bilmiyorum TBD "Turk()cheh",
with 'ch' as in 'church'
TBP TBP "know" bilmek  
uk (Ukrainian) Я не розмовляю українською TBD Ya nye rozmovl(y)ayu ukraïnskoyu; "uk" is pronounced as in the end of English "book" TBP TBP "speak" TBD The sequence "raïn" features a diaeresis in the transliteration; that's pronounced similarly to English "fine" and to the surname "Klein".
yi (Yiddish) איך קען נישט קיין יידיש TBD i[ç] ken nisht keyn Yiddish; see German (de) for [ç] TBP TBP "know" TBD In Latin script: ikh ken nisht keyn yiddish. The fourth word may be pronounced either like "cane" or like German kein (rhyming with "wine") depending on accent.

Legend: The first column contains the language's ISO-NNN code and its name in English. The second column spells out the sentence "I don't speak this language" in that language. The third column provides a text-based pronunciation guide that does not assume any knowledge in the target language. The fourth and fifth column provide audio recordings of the phrase being spoken at normal conversation speed and at slow, word-by-word speed (for ease of learning). The sixth column translates the verb, and the seventh column provides the infinitive form of the verb (i.e., the form in which it would appear in a dictionary).

Finally, you can link to a particular language by copying one of these links: ar (Arabic), cs (Czech), cn (Chinese), da (Danish), de (German), en (English), es (Spanish), eo (Esperanto), fr (French), it (Italian), he (Hebrew), jp (Japanese), nds (Low German), nl (Dutch), no (Norwegian), pl (Polish), ro (Romanian), ru (Russian), sl (Slovenian), sv (Swedish), tr (Turkish), uk (Ukrainian), yi (Yiddish).

Feedback and Contributions

There are many ways to contribute, including: submitting new entries; correcting, extending, or completing existing entries; and confirming the correctness of "unverified" entries (black or red text).

At this time, the most-sought contributions are adding pronunciation guides (IPA, textual transliteration, or audio recording) for the existing entries, and submission of new entries for major/common languages (Arabic, Dutch, Farsi, Korean, Greek...).

To get in touch with the maintainer of this page you have several options: IRC, email, or github. Via IRC, join the #bilmiyorum channel on the Freenode IRC network; via email, drop a line to; or via GitHub, file an issue.

The source code is available:
git clone git://
svn checkout bilmiyorum


Thanks to Aleksej (AVRS), Arfrever Frehtes Taifersar Arahesis, Joar Wandborg, Noirin Plunkett, an anonymous, Øystein Walle, Mohammad Noureldin, Holger Levsen, Heike Becker, and various friends over the years for contributing and correcting several entries.

This collection is under the MIT license. Portions under CC-BY 3.0. See the README file for details.