You 100% need to go read up on this stuff on a site like StudySpanish or something - Duo throws a whole lot of complex stuff at us at the end of the tree, without any real explanation. It's difficult and not really something you can pick up through osmosis.
Once you read an explanation of what's going on and why, and how the verbs are conjugated, it will make a whole lot more sense. And it'll still be hard!
I beleive that this is the negative imperative formal (usted) form.
Yes, the no is what marks that this is a negative sentence. The translation you ask for would be exactly the same: "no me diga nada". Maybe if you explain me the difference in English I can help you further? To me, both "don't say anything to me" or "don't tell me nothing" means you don't want me to speak to you. Is it that?
Well..."don't tell me nothing" would actually mean "tell me something" in English because of the double negatives, and it's not proper English besides that. But "Don't say anything to me" and "Say nothing to me" are the same. We just have to take out one of the negatives when translating the Spanish sentence into English and either one can be taken out for it to work.
"Don't speak to me" has the meaning of 'leave me alone', 'don't hassle me', etc. "Don't tell me anything" and "Don't say anything to me", has the meaning of 'don't tell me the secret' or 'don't tell me the ending of the movie you just saw'. The dictonaries translate decir as to say and to tell and hablar as to speak..
Double negatives work different in most languages than in standard forms of English. In Spanish and French, they're required. In Russian, multiple negation serves to add emphasis to the negative.
In many nonstandard dialects of English (and really, what Americans know as standard American English is the descendant of a handful of nonstandard 17th-century British dialects) "don't tell me nothing" and "don't tell me anything" mean the same thing, and only pedants insist that it's a logical contradiction. Language isn't logical, it's a messy, natural, living thing and getting used to that makes all these weird idiosyncrasies easier to deal with.
By non-standard dialects, I (a pedant), assume you just mean bad grammar. Double-negatives are not an acceptable dialectic variation. They are a symptom of sub-standard education.
"Don't tell me nothing" DOES NOT MEAN "Don't tell me anything". It means "Tell me something".
The boss, sends out one of his guys, Louie, to gather some intel, but he keeps coming back empty-handed. After the third time, he comes into the office, the boss looks at his hang-dog expression and says...
"Geez Louie. Every time I send you out, you come back with nothing. Don't tell me nothing."
As a linguist, I believe "non-standard" dialects mean dialects that are different from the standard that is taught in schools and that we write language grammars of. Each dialect has it's own rules and it's own grammar and in some dialects of English, those rules require double-negative,s and not to sue them would be as ungrammatical as using them would be in standard English. Also if somebody uses double negatives while speaking their own dialect of English, that requires double negatives, that doesn't meant they're not well educated, or do not know the standard: many people engage in what is called code-switching and will shift dialects (and sometimes languages) depending on the situation.
That said, in standard American English (and British as well, I guess) "don't tell me anything" and "don't tell me nothing" do have very different meaning, as xtempore illustrated very nicely My question would then be: how do you create the same distinction in Spanish? My native language also uses double negatives, but it also has a verb that can function like the english "do" in these types of sentences, so I'd say "do not tell me nothing/not tell me nothing" for "do not tell me anything"(1) and "do not not tell me nothing" for "do not tell me nothing (2). if (1) is "No me digas nada" in Spanish, what would (2) be?
Did you just unironically give some mobster dialogue as an example of educated, well-spoken standard English?
I'd point you at the Language Log if you want some examples of highly educated linguists who will disagree with you completely. Not using standard English isn't 'wrong', or a sign of inferior education or breeding or whatever else. It's simply using variations on the language which conform to different grammatical rules - and they absolutely are rules, otherwise the speakers wouldn't understand each other! At the very least, failing to follow those rules correctly marks you out, in the same way that not using standard English when expected to does.
I'm only making this point because I see a lot of 'nobody says this/that's not English' talk thrown around, neither of which are usually true. They might not fit that person's subjective opinion or experience, but that's not really the same thing! Language is a broad, dynamic, living thing - luckily, or we'd all still be speaking medieval English, or whatever version existed whenever The Law Of True English was set in stone
I agree with you in part. There is far too much "nobody says this/that's not English", but usually it's commentary from people who have a narrow experience of global English.
I'm certainly not saying that nobody uses double negatives. I hear them all the time. The problem is that most of the people I hear them from are either uneducated, or using it ironically to sound uneducated.
There may be pockets of English where double-negatives are the rule, but you are straying into pidgin and creole dialects, that whilst perfectly valid in their own communities are simply a bridge too far for an online language resource.
One must remember that DL teaches both English to Spanish, and Spanish to English, and from a practical point of view a line must be drawn somewhere.
English speakers need to understand that in Spanish, double-negatives are used, and Spanish speakers need to understand that in English they are not used.
Arguing that some English-speakers use double-negatives (whether through poor education or local dialect) simply muddies the issue and is unhelpful.
Honestly, anyone learning English who's able to follow what we're talking about here will have no problem gleaning the rules! I'd argue that what you're saying is what muddies the issue, because in the real world, people are going to come across English-speakers using double negatives all the time. Whether it's because they're 'uneducated', or 'pretending to be uneducated', or none of the above (yes, we exist!), the fact is people are going to run across it.
Now you could be a pedant and explain that when someone uses a double negative, that technically means that the two cancel out and it becomes a positive statement. This is all fine, except that often (I'd argue the vast majority of the time) a person using a double negative actually intends that negative meaning. And we all understand it as such. What good does it do to pretend to others that this person means one thing when we know they mean the opposite?
I mean the actual sentence Duo is using here is fine, this mini discussion is about whether people use double negatives in English (they do), what they mean (usually the negative), whether they should (the relevance of 'standard English'), and what the use of particular language variations implies about a person's background and intelligence. The first three are good to know, because they inform people about the actual use of the language, and how it affects tone and formality. The last one... let's just say sweeping generalisations are subjective, eh!
(Perdón por mi español malo ;) )
Usualmente tell se usa con un objeto personal - "tell me", "I told them", "I'm going to tell everyone" etc.
Por otro lado, say no se da un objeto, generalmente - se dice lo qué fue dicho, pero no la persona a quien fue dicho ("say the words", "I said, 'bla bla bla'", "she will say anything". Si quieres especificar a quién se hablar, hay que usar to - "say it to me", "I said it to them yesterday", "you probably say that to everyone" etc. Pero usualmente, se dice tell (que no usa to) si se menciona la persona(s)
Además, ¡tenga cuidado con "don't tell me nothing"! Es una doble negación, pues en inglés formal no es correcto - se debe decir "don't tell me anything" o "tell me nothing" (personas sí lo dicen, pero es muy informal). Y "don't tell me anything" suena a la otra persona tiene información qué no quieres oír, mientras que "don't say anything to me" suena a quieres que no habla nada. ¡No me habla!