Discussion Spirituelle: “c’est normal”, “tu vois au fond”, “je me dis que”, “elle n’a pas tort”…

Denis and Valérie talk about their daughter's spiritual quest and how their unconventional beliefs don't offer traditional comforts about life after death. She compares their situation to their neighbors, who have clear answers like heaven to share with their kids.

Watch this short clip in FrenchThe clip starts at 11:27 (in case it doesn't automatically start there). I highly recommend you first watch it at 0.75x speed.

  • C'est normal d'avoir une quête spirituelle à son age.
  • Ben oui mais tu vois, au fond, je me dis qu'elle n'a pas complètement tord, hein.
    On a rien à lui proposer, on ne croit même pas en Dieu..
  • Attends, mais on croit... on croit en plein de choses, hein? On croit en l'amour, on croit euh, on croit en l'être humain, aux énergies...
    Et puis ça nous empêche pas d'avoir des valeurs morales!
    Quelque part on est au-delà du mysticisme!
  • Mais tu vois par exemple, les Lepic ils peuvent dire à leurs enfant que Dieu existe, qu'après la mort on va au Ciel...
    C'est plus cool à entendre que "tu vas pouvoir sous la terre bouffé par des asticots"!
  • On les a déjà pas fait croire au Père Noël, on va pas leur faire croire au Petit Jesus non? si?
  • Non...
  • Oh la la, tu me ferais pas une petite crise toi?

English version

  • It's normal to have a spiritual quest at her age.
  • Well yes, but you see, deep down, I think she's not completely wrong, huh? We have nothing to offer her, we don't even believe in God.
  • Wait, but we believe... we believe in a lot of things, right? We believe in love, we believe in human beings, in energies... And it doesn’t stop us from having moral values! In a way, we are beyond mysticism!
  • But you see, for example, the Lepic family can tell their children that God exists, that after death we go to Heaven... That's cooler to hear than "you'll end up under the ground being eaten by maggots"!
  • We didn't even make them believe in Santa Claus, we're not going to make them believe in Little Jesus, are we?
  • No...
  • Oh boy, are you having a little crisis?

C'est normal de...

This translates to "It's normal to." In the dialogue, it refers to the naturalness or typicality of experiencing a spiritual quest at a certain age.

"C'est normal de se poser des questions sur la vie quand on entre à l'université"

It's normal to question life when entering university

Tu vois, au fond...

This phrase translates to "You see, deep down". It's used to introduce a deeper, more intimate thought or feeling about a subject, suggesting a reflection or inner truth that the person is sharing. It sets the stage for a confession.

"Tu vois, au fond, j'ai peur de l'échec"

You see, deep down, I'm afraid of failure

Je me dis que...

This translates to "I tell myself that..." This phrase is also used when someone is reflecting on their own thoughts, or convincing themselves of something.

"Je me dis que tout cela en vaut la peine pour atteindre mes objectifs"

I tell myself that all this is worth it to achieve my goals

"Je me dis que peut-être il ne sait pas toute la vérité"

I tell myself that maybe he doesn't know the whole truth

Elle n'a pas complètement tord

"She's not completely wrong." This is used to acknowledge that someone's opinion or argument has some validity, even if you don't fully agree with it.

"Sur ce point, il n'a pas complètement tord"

He's not completely wrong about this.

Typically, someone who says this simply means "he's right about this."

In French, the litote is a way of saying something positive by stating a negative. It reflects a broader aspect of French culture, which often includes a cautious or skeptical way of thinking.

This style allows people to agree on points without sounding too enthusiastic or too committed. French speakers often prefer to speak in a way that is less direct and more nuanced.

It's also a kind of intellectual caution, where you avoid making strong, outright affirmations.

For example:

"C'est pas faux" ("It's not false") lets you agree with a point without fully endorsing it. It shows agreement but with some distance.

"Il fait pas chaud" ("It's not warm") is a subtle way of saying it's cold, but the person is reluctant to complain directly or to be too definite in their statements.

"C'est pas trop mauvais" (it's not too bad) typically means "it's actually pretty good". French people will often use this phrase instead of "c'est bon" or "c'est bien".

Ça nous empêche pas de...

"Ça nous empêche pas de" translates to "It doesn't stop us from." It means that despite some obstacles, you can still do certain actions or hold certain beliefs.

The complete form is "ça ne m'empêche pas de..." or "cela ne m'empêche pas de..."

"On n'a pas beaucoup d'argent mais ça ne nous empêche pas de vivre pleinement"

We don't have much money but that doesn't stop us from living fully.

"Il est petit de taille mais ça ne l'empêche pas d'être remarqué par les femmes."

He's short but that doesn't stop women from noticing him.

Quelque part...

Quelque part (literally "Somewhere") translates here to "in a way", "in a sense". It's often used to suggest that there is some truth or validity in a statement when viewed from a certain perspective.

"Quelque part, on pense la même chose."

In a way, we think the same way.

"Quelque part, le vrai succès c'est d'être heureux"

In a sense, true success is being happy.

The colloquial version "kek part..." of "quelque part" is often used in casual conversation, particularly among less formal or less educated people, to indicate a general, vague agreement, or to point out that there is some truth to something.

"Kek part, ça a du sens ce qu'il dit!"

There's some truth to what he's saying.

Mais tu vois, par exemple...

"But you see, for example..." This phrase goes beyond simply saying "par exemple" (for example) by adding emphasis and weight to the example being introduced.

The addition of "mais tu vois" suggests that the speaker is pointing out something significant or crucial to understanding their point of view. It highlights the importance of the upcoming example.

"Mais tu vois, par exemple, ton frère ne dirait jamais ce genre de chose."

But you see, for example, your borther would never say this kind of thing.

On a déjà pas... on va pas...

"We already don't... we're not going to..." This means that, based on your past actions or decisions, it wouldn't make sense to do that other thing.

"J'ai déja pas voulu prendre un job dans une entreprise, je vais pas s'engager m'engager dans l'armée!"

I already didn't want to get a corporate job, I'm certainly not going enroll in the army!

Oh la la, tu me ferais pas...

"Oh boy, are you not having..." This typically means you're suddenly realizing the person you're talking to is having some kind of issue. You realize that based on what s/he's beeing saying or doing.

For example, you see your girlfriend/boyfriend looking upset, you might say:

"Oh la la, tu me ferais pas une crise de jalousie?"

Oh boy, are you not having a jealousy fit?

"Oh la la, tu me ferais pas un petit caprice là?"

Oh boy, are you not throwing a little tantrum there?

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