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I'm having trouble finding how to say "I only speak one language, which is English" in the following context.

Person 1: Which languages do you speak?

Person 2: I only speak one, which is English.

So far I have:

Personne 1: Quelles langues parles-tu ?

Personne 2: Je ne parle qu'un qui est l'anglais.

Is this correct?

12
  • I think that someone has either been hacked or else power has gone to their head.
    – Papa Poule
    Aug 29 '19 at 13:34
  • Answers should answer “Is it correct?” (which requires explanations) or provide phrasings similar to the one suggested, ideally explaining the differences, and not just mention one of the many ways to say “(I speak) only X”. Aug 29 '19 at 19:04
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    "I only speak one, which is English" is very awkward phrasing for an English speaker. And that response doesn't even match the question. It would go with "How many languages do you speak?". An appropriate response to "Which languages do you speak?" would be "Only English". ¶ Is this question asking for a good French translation of bad English? That is, the answer should be equally awkward French? Dec 14 '21 at 13:49
  • @RayButterworth I agree completely. Bad English. "I only speak one; English".
    – Lambie
    Dec 14 '21 at 16:54
  • @Lambie I'm among those who find that editing and correcting non native English speakers on this French language question & answer site is more helpful and much much nicer than pointing out to their "mistakes" being so judgmental.
    – None
    Dec 15 '21 at 8:11
27

Regarding your proposal:

  • Langue is feminine, so you have to use une and not un.
  • If you do not repeat langue in the answer you have to replace it with the personal pronoun en.

Je n'en parle qu'une qui est l'anglais.

is correct and would be a possible answer.

But I find it would be much more idiomatic to say:

Je n'en parle qu'une (seule) : l'anglais.

And that's what I would say in such a situation.

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  • Il me semble qu'il faudrait rajouter une virgule dans la première phrase. Sinon, il est évident qu'on ne "parle qu'une langue qui est l'anglais" (l'anglais) même si on parle aussi l'allemand et le français. C'est la même distinction qu'entre "that" et "which" en anglais. Aug 27 '19 at 11:45
  • You can also avoid the use of "en": > Je ne parle qu'anglais or > Je ne parle que l'anglais
    – sapienz
    Aug 29 '19 at 13:20
  • @Laure When you say: "Je ne parle que l'anglais", it can't means that you speak more than "one" language. "one" is used here implicitly (subtleties of the french language).
    – sapienz
    Sep 5 '19 at 7:17
  • @Laure "commentaires inutiles" ?? Les vôtres sont certainement les plus utiles.
    – sapienz
    Sep 5 '19 at 7:31
  • 1
    @Stéphane Gimenez Les 3 réponses proposées pour cette question utilisent le complément "langue" ou "en". La réponse que j'ai proposé explique que l'on peut se passer de ce complément, tout en indiquant que "je ne parle qu'une seule langue".
    – sapienz
    Sep 6 '19 at 10:19
7

Other idiomatic variants:

"Je ne parle qu'une langue, à savoir l'anglais"

"Je ne parle qu'une langue et c'est l'anglais"

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2

If you want to sound as formal:

  • Quelles langues parles-tu?

  • Je n'en parle qu'une, et c'est l'anglais.

A bit more colloquial:

  • Quelles langues parles-tu?
  • Je n'en parle qu'une (seule): l'anglais.

which would be closer to this:

  • Which languages do you speak?
  • I only speak one: English.

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