Get prepared to learn all the things you ever wanted to know about the basic sentence “D’où viens-tu”.
To be more specific, this includes a complete explanation of what it is and how you can use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because we care about you, we also sprinkled useful informations like synonym, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!
The literal meaning is:
This is the classic and neutral way to ask someone: “Where are you from?” in French, but you can also use “Tu viens d’où ?“.
The informal version is “T’es d’où ?” and the formal version is “Vous êtes d’où ?” (this version also works when talking to a group of people).
If someone asks you: “D’où viens-tu ?” you can answer with “Je viens du Brésil, et toi ?” (I’m from Brazil, and you?)
Or you can simply start yourself by asking: “Tu viens d’où ?“.
Note that the precise meaning can depend on context. If French people meet each other, this question means “Which city/region are you from in France?” but when one of the person isn’t French it will mean “Which country are you from?“.
Plus, this question can sometimes be painful when you are born somewhere, but grew up somewhere else and are even currently living somewhere else…
In this case, you have to decide which one represents you the most. And if you don’t know, you can always say: “Je suis un citoyen du monde !” (I’m a citizen of the world!)
The informal version “T’es d’où ?” sounds exactly like “T’es doux ?” which means “Are you sweet/gentle?“. So don’t be surprised if sometimes French people are having fun, answering you “Oui” with a smile.