"They are telling you."
Both are acceptable. :) There are very slight semantic difference between demek and söylemek (just like there are slight semantic difference between say and tell...they are huge, but they are there).
I'm back at this and more confused. In english, there aren't slight difference between tell and say, they are two completely different things. You can say things, or you can say things to someone. But you only really (except for a few exceptions) tell people things. So, are you saying that dimek and solemek are closer in turkish than say and tell are in english? The only way this sentence would translate with 'say' was if it was They are saying (something) to you. There needs to be the 'something', otherwise it is Telling you. Man this course is making me think more about English than anything else :)
Isn't crazy how much learning a non Indo-European language makes you think?
demek is normally used for direct speech and söylemek is often used for indirect speech, but there are a lot of blurred lines. The two are rather close.
And you are entirely right about the way "say" and "tell" work in English. You should come tell that to my students here! :D
interchangeable in some contexts.
- I said "hello" to her.: Ona "Merhaba" dedim. you cannot use söyledim here.
- I told her to come here: Ona buraya gelmesini söyledim. you cannot use dedim here. But you can say Ona dedim ki "buraya gel"
- I told this to her: Bunu ona ben dedim/söyledim. Both fine