The French verbs parler à ou parler de can both be translated as “to speak” in English, but they are used in different contexts and have distinct meanings.
Parler à / au / aux / à l’ + PERSON:
This construction is used to express “talking / speaking to” someone. When the verb parler is followed by À + a person or people, you can use the indirect object pronouns LUI or LEUR to replace those people.
The pronoun LUI means “him / her”, and the pronoun LEUR means “them”. The indirect object pronouns LUI and LEUR are only used for people and animals.
|Elle parle à sa meilleure amie.|
Elle lui parle.
|She is talking to her best friend.|
She is talking to her.
|Nous parlons à nos amis.|
Nous leur parlons.
|We are talking to our friends.|
We are talking to them.
Parler de / du / de la / des / de l’
+ PERSON, PLACE, THING:
This construction is used to express “talking / speaking about” a person, place, or a thing.
When the verb parler is followed by DE + a person, place, or a thing, you can use the adverbial pronoun EN to replace those people, places, or things.
In this case, the pronoun EN means “about him / her / them”, “about a place”, or “about a thing”.
The adverbial pronoun EN is used to replace a noun that follows du, de la, de l’, des or a quantity.
|Je parle du propriétaire.|
|I am talking about the owner.|
I am talking about him / her.
|Vous parliez des devoirs de maths?Vous en parliez?||Were you talking about the math homework?|
Were you talking about it?
|Ils parlent de leurs résultats.|
Ils en parlent.
|They are talking about their results.|
They are talking about them.