My wife speaks french and says this does not make sense? I searched the exact phrase on google and it is not used anywhere.
This is a fake question for someone having been rude or impolite with you, for that person to realize that his or her tone and manner was not right.
Sitesurf,I think in English "what are you saying to us?!?" In an incredulous voice might be a more accurate understanding of the situation.
I don't recall ever hearing or reading the suggested phrase in English to describe that situation.
What do you think?
There's no direct translation of this in English. In similar situations, we would most likely say, 'Who do you think you're talking to?' or 'Are you talking to us like that?'
I think that "what are you saying to us?", in an incredulous voice, would back translate to "qu'est-ce que vous nous dites ?" (+ formal = que nous dites-vous ?/ informal = vous nous dites quoi ?).
The French question "comment nous parlez-vous ?" is about the tone and manner of speaking, not what is being said.
"The French question "comment nous parlez-vous ?" is about the tone and manner of speaking, not what is being said." So if the content doesn't actually matter, then why not pick a "translation" that is more like something an English speaker would actually say...?
Add so to the sentence and it is much more common in English than it appears to be.
So, what are you saying to us...that it wasn't your fault even though it was you that did it?
My friend and I are about to disarm an explosive device. My instructor says he will tell us how to do it safely while we are working on it. He starts to leave the room for the next city, saying it is too dangerous for him to stay in the area. We immediately say "But...how do you talk to us?"
Then we decide we don't care how he is going to talk to us. We get out as fast as we can, saying "What ...do you think we're stupid?"
Expect to see this scenario in one of Duo's questions later on in the lessons.
Also thanks to Sitesurf for his succinct description of placement of nouns and pronouns when the verb is inverted.
Yes, this sentence is a bit strange, I think " comment vous nous parlez?" is better , but the context is also uncommon because someone (or several people) has been rude with several people (you included)
"comment vous nous parlez ?" is not the proper form of an interrogative sentence.
yes it's not the high register language ("registre soutenu") nor the standard language maybe (french is a Pluricentric language), but it's more usual don't you think so? such as "comment tu me parles?"
As you have certainly noticed there are 3 ways to ask a question in French, the more formal one using the inversion between Verb and Subject:
- Comment parlez-vous ? How do you speak/talk?
Then you add the object (indirect object = the person whom the subject talks to).
- Comment parlez-vous <à cet homme> ?
When this object is not a noun (like homme, or a name), but a pronoun, you have to place it in front of the verb:
- Comment <me/lui/nous...> parlez-vous ?
The other, less formal forms do not use the Verb-Subject inversion:
Comment est-ce que vous <me/lui/nous> parlez ? (note: the pronoun is still in front of the verb, but after the subject).
Comment vous <me/lui/nous> parlez ? is the more oral, casual, informal form, since it is not really built as a question, it just has a ? at the end.
Not a very polite answer! This comment is in response to "Lordwarrior's" response.
Sorry, but I really don't get the syntax here. I know I'm wrong for having answered "how are we talking to you", but why are the subjects inversed? Argh!
In this sentence, you have basically two inversions:
-1- the interrogative form verb-subject, which links the verb to its inverted subject with a hyphen. So, the subject of "parlez" is "vous" (btw, endings in -ez are always 2nd person plural)
-2- "nous" is placed in front of the verb because it is a pronoun and the indirect object of verb "parlez" (parler à quelqu'un / talk to someone).
- Comment nous parlez-vous ? = how are you talking to us?
If you reverse the subject with the complement: you get:
- Comment vous parlons-nous ? = how are we talking to you? (your proposal)
The most obvious clue, in my opinion, is the Verb-Subject inversion "parlez-vous" which shows with no ambiguity that the subject is "vous".
No. The clue is in the position of nous in this sentence. Nous is the indirect object. Not we but us.
if nous is the formal form of 'I', can this also be translated into 'how do you talk to me'?