"Quels enfants aidez-vous ?"
Translation:Which children do you help?
Vous refers to the helper(s) not the children, so you can't use vous to determine whether there is one or many children. By using vous, there could be one person helping many children or more than one person helping many children. You need to listen for the elaison - the z sound - between Quels and enfants in fast speed.
To my ear, the slow pronunciation differs from the regular speed. The "z" in quels not there. The slow vous sounds a bit off too.
I agree that the audio of this particular sentence is very bad. However, liaisons like "Quelzzzz enfants" are never pronounced in the slow version. The purpose of those liaisons is to make the sentence more fluent, easier to pronounce, but when you say word by word slowly, you don't need them anymore.
OK, so why if it's quels enfants aidez-vous (object-verb-subject) does it change to quels enfants vous aident (subject-object-verb)? Could you say quels enfants aident vous (subject-verb-object)? I know there's a rule about pronouns moving around but I've never got my head round it.
Quel enfants aidez-vous? (object-verb- subject) = Which children do you help. Vous aidez = you help, when formed as an inverted question (do you help) changes to aidez-vous.
Quels enfants vous aident (subject-verb- object) = Which children help you. Here vous (you) is the objerct. Object comes before the verb in French.
This phrase trips me up every time because I want to follow the order of the words and translate it as...
Quels (which) enfants (children) aidez (help) vous (you). I’ve seen other sentences that follow the sequence so I keep thinking that this translation makes sense when I see it. I could just memorise the answer but I’d rather understand properly why it isn’t what I think it is. I get what is said about the direct object coming before the verb, but this sentence shows the opposite so it confuses me all the more.
It is important to note the form of the verb. Aidez is the second person plural form --- which goes only with VOUS: you, plural. Vouz aidez [or aidez-vous in questions] The form that goes with children is third person plural - ils aident, THEY help. So "Which children help you?" would be "Quels enfants vous aident?" I think this is a more reliable approach than trying always to follow the order of words in the source sentence, which is often different from the order in English, as you have discovered! Hope this helps.
No. Aidez-vous is the interrogative [questioning] inversion of vous aidez --- Do YOU help?. If the children were doing the helping the verb form would be "aident". [Ils aident - remember?] In "Quels enfants vous aident?" the verb form means that the helping is done by the children and "vous" would be the object of the aid. In the sentence "Quels enfants aidez-vous" the verb form means that the helping is done by you, and it is the children who are the objects of the aid. Hope this helps ...
there is, yes. this is also the case with colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, percent signs and inside guillemets («»). commas, full-stops and ellipses never have a preceding space.
to complicate matters a bit, this should be a non-breaking space to ensure that the punctuation mark remains with the preceding word and will never get moved by itself onto the next line.
in practice (especially online) people will often not insert a space. not least because, while proper word-processing software like MS Word or LibreOffice will set a non-breaking space where appropriate, plenty of software doesn't.
wikipedia has the full gory details, including the usual collection of regional variations: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponctuation#En_fran%C3%A7ais