Help with these French sentences: Écoute ta mère Parle à ta mère
-Écoute ta mère -Parle à ta mère
Why is there an à (I assume meaning to) when using the verb Parler but not for ecouter????
Is there any type of rule? Why are they different?
To put it simply:
écouter = to listen to
parler = to speak
parler à = to talk/speak to
parler de = to talk about
devoir = to have to
se souvenir de = to remember
Learn the prepositions together with the verbs. Just because a preposition follows a verb in one language doesn't mean it also happens in the other.
I'm not sure it will help, but if you encounter a situation in which you're not sure whether you have to use a preposition or not, you could use the question technique : Ask a question to retrieve the object.
If you use "who", then don't use a preposition. If you use "whose" or "whom" use a preposition.
In your example :
WHO do you have to listen to ? Your mother. / WHOM are you talking to ? Your mother [Whom = à qui, contrary to English speakers with the -m in whom, French speakers haven't dropped the "à" in "à qui"]
Who do you listen to/Qui écoutes-tu ? = no preposition = Ecoute ta mère
Whom are you talking to/A qui parles-tu ? = preposition = Parle à ta mère
It seems to work when the object is a person but, unfortunately, it doesn't work when the object is a "what".
Here is a link towards an explanation in French with French interrogative pronouns, which always work (However, you'll see that French students use this method for a different purpose and already know when there is a preposition and when there is not). http://www.francaisfacile.com/exercices/exercice-francais-2/exercice-francais-4742.php
(Otherwise, yes, you'll have to learn the prepositions together with the verbs.)
It's a hard subject for me too. The difficulty is definitely increased by the lack of logic here... it's simply memorization. Appeler quelqu'un, telephoner à quelqu'un, for example. I recently made a thread on this too, with some useful links inside. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23466162