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There's a scene I'm working on in something I'm writing. In short, there are two characters, one male and one female, who are native English speakers, but they both learned French later on. They've known each other for as long as they can remember, they're very close friends, and there's possibly some stronger feelings for each other going on, too.

The female asks the male a kind of flirtatious question, but she does it in French. (I'm not sure if it's necessary to specify the question. I'll leave it out for now, but I'll say what it is if anyone needs it.) The male has literally no idea how to respond to her, and doesn't. His jaw just drops and he's speechless.

The female continues to tease him, however, and this is what I'm trying to figure out. She says this next thing to him in French, as well.

It's either... "My question is still pending" ...or... "Are you going to answer me?"

I tried asking elsewhere, but I got nothing for "My question is still pending" and I'm unsure what I should go with for "Are you going to answer me?" Here are the options I received.

"Tu vas me répondre?" "Vas-tu me répondre?" "Est-ce que tu vas me répondre?"

I was told that the "tu vas" variants fit best for close friends or lovers, and "est-ce" was slightly more formal than "tu vas."

Is that accurate? If so, which one would be the most appropriate in this situation? How would I go about saying "My question is still pending"? Which one between "My question is still pending" and "Are you going to answer me?" is more appropriate for this situation, or does it make no difference? Are there any gender differences I need to be aware of, since it's a female speaking to a male?

I'm trying to get as much information as possible. I really want to make sure that this scene comes out as perfect as possible. Thanks in advance!

****EDIT****

Because of some questions I was asked revolving around what kind of teasing she's doing, what kind of relationship they have, etc., I decided I would include the original question she asked him. She teasingly asks him out of nowhere "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? (Would you like to sleep with me tonight?)"

  • Isn't something missing in the sentence you added? The usual way to say that, at least traditionally, is "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ?". Also, the change from "vous" to "tu" (Tu vas me répondre ?) right after this proposition of sleeping together will make for interesting drama but as the play is intended for an English speaking audience that important turn in the relashionship might not have much impact on an unprepared audience. Warning: if those people say "tu" to one another all the time, "Voulez-vous…" is wrong, only possibility: "Veux-tu (coucher) avec moi ?". – LPH Sep 12 at 23:38
  • I was using that way cause that's the most common way English people know it. The song, a joke from a show; there's a whole Wikipedia page for the sentence worded that way. That's also part of the point in the scene. She's asking it that way on purpose to reference the way that sentence is commonly used, practically referencing the song; it's just a part of her teasing. That was the idea, anyway, but if it's that wrong, I'll change it. Can you explain why it's such a drastic change? Also, is "coucher" always part of of the last sentence you gave or is it optional? If so, what's the difference? – user8611261 Sep 13 at 0:44
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    How is this not a case of "we are not a translation service"? – temporary_user_name Sep 13 at 16:51
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It's either... "My question is still pending" ...or... "Are you going to answer me?"

For that question I would tell it depend of how the teasing is and how the women is generally (delicate or a rebel in example)

If the girl is close and the teasing is direct, a "Tu vas me répondre?" or "Alors tu répond quoi?" would sound appropriate, but if it's a delicate teasing, I would tell that "Est-ce que tu vas me répondre?" would sound better.

It's my opinion.

A note, others expression could be used too;

"Alors tu répond quoi?"
"Tu es sans voix?"
"Un chat a mangé ta langue?"
"Quand tu vas te décider à parler, j'attends toujours une réponse"
"Est-ce que tu vas te décider?"
...

  • Thank you very much. As for her character type, she's usually very nice, but has her mischievous moments. What's the difference between "tu vas me répondre?" and "alors tu répond quoi?"? – user8611261 Sep 12 at 22:13
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As in English, a direct question as "vas-tu me répondre" is more direct than an affirmative statement such as "je n'ai pas encore eu de réponse".

You can find equivalent turns of phrases to "my question is still pending" as follows (from most indirect to most direct).

Je n'ai pas encore eu de réponse.

Je n'ai toujours pas eu de réponse. (toujours pas expresses a feeling that it has been taken a bit too long now)

J'aimerais une réponse.

J'attends ta réponse.

Tu ne m'as pas toujours répondu.

Same for "are you going to answer ?", from least pushy to pushiest:

Comptes-tu me répondre ? (forml) / est-ce que tu comptes me répondre ? (neutral) / Tu comptes me répondre (informal) ?

Vas-tu me répondre (formal) / est-ce que tu vas me répondre ? (neutral) / tu vas me répondre ? (informal)

Quand vas-tu te décider à me répondre / quand est-ce que tu vas te décider à me répondre ?

If the woman wants to express a sense of impatience and yet be indirect, she could also simply say:

J'attends...

There are also some humorous turns you could use - but they may not have the flirtatious tone you are looking for, they are rather used in a bantering tone, so that depends on the relationshiip between your characters:

Alors, c'est pour aujourd'hui ou pour demain ?

Tu as perdu ta langue ?

Tu es long à la détente !

note: I feel no difference between genders for using any of those suggestions.

  • Thank you. So "vas tu" is more formal than "tu vas"? As for your examples of "my question is still pending," are any of them more fitting for the situation than the other? She's teasing him big time, but almost not expecting him to respond. – user8611261 Sep 12 at 22:22
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Pour Are you going to anwser me? je propose simplement:

Tu ne réponds pas?

Et pour My question is still pending je suggère:

J'attends.

Dans un jeu de séduction, les deux phrases prononcées peuvent par exemple être accompagnées de mimiques telles qu'un sourire malicieux.

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I was told that the "tu vas" variants fit best for close friends or lovers, and "est-ce" was slightly more formal than "tu vas."

This is correct and you can consider "vas-tu…" also as formal. There is no problem of gender difference.

The answer depends a little, as I see it, on the level of formality of the relashionship ; you can be close friends and yet not treat one another too familiarly and/or carry on the interaction by means of more formal language.

If this relationship, then, is somewhat formal "My question is still pending." would do. However, the term "pending" seems not quite proper, rather vague to me in this context: "pending" means "awaiting decision", "undecided" and there is not really a decision to be made about the question itself but a decision about whether answering it or not; it could be said as well that the answer is pending; that's why I'd suggest to use instead "My question holds." or may be better "My question still stands.". Nevertheless, whichever is found to have the most relevance to you in the end I think that the following translations of the idea will do.

  • Ma question tient toujours.
  • Je maintiens ma question.

If those two friends are very familiar in their interaction it might be preferable to opt for "Tu vas me répondre ? ", the idea being to ensure that all utterances remain wihin a given language register. However, I do not think using the forms considered first would cause a real clash of registers: they are not specially formal. Moreover, even the more formal "Vas-tu" and "Est-ce que tu…" can be found proper if one wants to communicate the idea of something of an ultimatum (stage directions are then needed for the prononciation: "said intently" for instance).

  • Well, the two friends have known each other all their lives. They're currently still friends, but they practically know that they have feelings for each other by now, they just haven't said it out loud yet, really. They're not closer to anyone else. They're as close as it gets. I'm not sure if this extra information has any effect on what you said? Also, what's the exact difference between "ma question tient toujours" and "je maintiens ma question"? – user8611261 Sep 12 at 22:26
  • @user8611261 Given those precisions, one thing is sure, they'll probably be talking to one another rather softly, but the slightly formal quality of "vas-tu …" and "est-ce que…" does not hinder the coming through of tender feelings provided the right intonations are used and provided the forms seem to belong to the idiolect of the locuteurs; if the rest of their language is too familiar all the time, then the change in the register might appear strange; (1/2) – LPH Sep 12 at 23:11
  • @user8611261 as there is very little conversation in French in the play there is no such problem. I see no real difference between the two forms; for instance the two of them are used without difference in what is said when the word "proposition" is used instead of the word "question"; however, I would find the second one preferable in this case (with the word "question"). Often, when these forms are used the locutor repeats the question right after he's spoken them. (2/2) – LPH Sep 12 at 23:11

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