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Balades ep 2, Quiz 19: Je n’en reviens pas

    Improve your ear for French with this snippet from the Balades podcast. It’s 66 words in 24 seconds. How many can you hear and understand? Practice today with us

    Learn French with a podcast snippet! This clip is from Balades Episode 2. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Find the full podcast here.

    24 seconds, 66 words
    « ». '. '. « ,, « », '. '. » « , ' '..,,. »
    « ». n'enreviens. Quelqu'undécroché. « ,, « Pigeonnier», d'entendre. s'estarrêté. » « Ah, c'étaitsûrementdétecteur d'incendies.arrivepilefaible.inquiétez,recommence,suffitpileboîtier. »
    « ». n'enrevienspas. Quelqu'unadécroché. « ,,suiscabane « Pigeonnier»,viens d'entendrealarme.Maisça s'estarrêté. » « Ah, c'étaitsûrementdétecteur d'incendies.Çaarrivetempsentempsquandpilefaible.inquiétez,sicelarecommence,suffitsortirpileduboîtier. »

    The above audio sample and transcription is from Balades ep. 2. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode here.

    I can’t believe it.

    We are coming to the end of this episode of Balades. The real question, do I move on to episode 3 or should we move into some more challenging territory?

    Then again, this snippet has a lot of new vocab for me. Vocab that I just didn’t know.

    I love the word “inquiéter”, I think there’s a word like it in Spanish too. It seems such an interesting way to say worry, at least when you look at it from English, to “in-quiet” yourself, to not be calm. I think it’s interesting.

    As I’m learning French from English, it’s easy to forget to stop and look at a word and think what does this mean? I gloss over words thinking “don’t know it”. When really, a little deductive reasoning might be able to figure it out. It’s why we can understand “détecteur d’incendies” or other new words. Of course, for me, I didn’t know battery or box. And the word for “take out” is also the verb to leave? Seems interesting.

    Just some thoughts as I go through this. What stands out to you in this passage?

    ow did you find this snippet?

    The snippet in English

    Find a translation of this snippet here, how much of this did you hear?

    « Allô ».

    Je n’en reviens pas. Quelqu’un a décroché.

    « Oui, allô, je suis dans la cabane « Pigeonnier », et je viens d’entendre une alarme. Mais ça s’est arrêté. »

    « Ah, c’était sûrement le détecteur d’incendies. Ça arrive de temps en temps quand la pile est faible. Ne vous inquiétez pas, si cela recommence, il suffit de sortir la pile du boîtier. »


    I can’t believe it. Someone has picked up.

    “Yes, hello, I’m in the “Pigeon House” cabin, and I just heard an alarm. But it stopped.”

    “Ah, it was probably the fire detector. It happens from time to time when the battery is low. Don’t worry, if it happens again, just take the battery out of the box.”

    The above translation from Deepl. Source

    What does “je n’en reviens pas” mean?

    “Je n’en reviens pas” is a French expression that translates to “I can’t believe it” or “I’m amazed” in English. It’s used to express a sense of astonishment, disbelief, or shock about something.

    Usage and Context:

    • Expressing Surprise: It’s commonly used when someone is so surprised or astonished by an event, a piece of news, or an action that they find it hard to believe.
    • Figurative Speech: The phrase is more about the speaker’s emotional reaction than a literal inability to return from somewhere.


    • “Il a gagné à la loterie ? Je n’en reviens pas !” (He won the lottery? I can’t believe it!)
    • “Tu as réussi à finir tout le travail en une journée ? Je n’en reviens pas.” (You managed to finish all the work in one day? I’m amazed.)

    Cultural Notes:

    “Je n’en reviens pas” is not always positive; it can be used to express astonishment or disbelief in both positive and negative contexts. The phrase itself is neutral and simply reflects a high level of surprise or incredulity. The positive or negative connotation depends on the context in which it is used. For instance:

    • Positive Context: “Il m’a offert un cadeau incroyable, je n’en reviens pas!” (He gave me an incredible gift, I can’t believe it!)
    • Negative Context: “Il a dit quelque chose de vraiment impoli, je n’en reviens pas.” (He said something really rude, I can’t believe it.)

    The emotional tone is determined by the nature of the event or information that prompts the expression of disbelief.

    In Summary:

    “Je n’en reviens pas” is a French phrase meaning “I can’t believe it” or “I’m amazed,” used to express strong surprise or disbelief. It’s a figurative way to say that something is so surprising that it momentarily disrupts one’s usual state of belief or understanding.

    What does “quelqu’un a décroché” mean?

    The phrase “Quelqu’un a décroché” in French translates to “Someone answered” or “Someone picked up” in English. It’s commonly used in the context of telephone calls.

    Usage and Context:

    • Telephone Calls: Typically used to indicate that someone has answered a phone call. “Décrocher” literally means “to unhook” or “to pick up” and is the standard term used in French for answering a phone.
    • Informing About Call Connection: Often said to inform others in the vicinity that the call has been answered and a conversation is about to begin.


    • “J’ai appelé et, heureusement, quelqu’un a décroché tout de suite.” (I called and, fortunately, someone answered right away.)
    • In a group setting: “Chut, quelqu’un a décroché.” (Quiet, someone has picked up.)

    Cultural Notes:

    • In French, “décrocher” is the verb specifically used for answering telephones, stemming from the days of traditional phones that required literally unhooking the receiver.

    In Summary:

    “Quelqu’un a décroché” means “Someone answered” or “Someone picked up” in the context of telephone calls. It indicates that the call has been answered and is a straightforward, practical phrase commonly used in everyday French communication.

    What does “sûrement” mean?

    The word “sûrement” in French translates to “surely” or “certainly” in English. It is an adverb used to express a high degree of confidence or probability about a statement or situation.

    Usage and Context:

    • Expressing Confidence: Used to convey confidence in the truth or likelihood of something.
    • Emphasizing Agreement: Often used to agree with someone or to reinforce the certainty of one’s own statement.
    • Variety of Contexts: Can be used in both formal and informal situations.


    • “Il viendra sûrement à la fête.” (He will surely come to the party.)
    • In response to a question: “Oui, sûrement.” (Yes, certainly.)


    • “Probablement” vs. “Sûrement”: While “probablement” (probably) suggests a lower degree of certainty than “sûrement,” the latter is more assertive and confident.
    • “Bien sûr” vs. “Sûrement”: “Bien sûr” (of course) is similar but used more for confirming or affirming something that is perceived as obvious or agreed upon.

    In Summary:

    “Sûrement” means “surely” or “certainly” in French, and it is used to express a strong belief in the truth or likelihood of a statement. This adverb is versatile and can be used in a wide range of contexts to convey confidence and assurance.

    What does “le détecteur d’incendies” mean?

    “Le détecteur d’incendies” in French translates to “the fire detector” or “the smoke detector” in English. It refers to a device designed to detect and warn of the presence of fire or smoke.

    Usage and Function:

    • Safety Device: These detectors are essential safety devices in homes, offices, and various buildings. They play a crucial role in early fire detection, thereby helping to prevent the spread of fires and protect lives and property.
    • Types: There are different types of fire detectors, including smoke detectors, heat detectors, and flame detectors, each designed to detect specific aspects of a fire.

    Installation and Maintenance:

    • Placement: Typically installed on ceilings or high on walls to effectively detect smoke or heat from fires.
    • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, such as battery replacement and testing, is crucial to ensure they function correctly.
    • Regulations: Many countries have regulations requiring fire detectors in residential and commercial buildings for safety reasons.
    • Awareness: In French-speaking countries, as in many parts of the world, there’s growing awareness about fire safety and the importance of having functional fire detectors.

    Examples in Use:

    • “Il est important de tester régulièrement le détecteur d’incendies.” (It’s important to regularly test the fire detector.)
    • “Le détecteur d’incendies a sauvé des vies en alertant les occupants du bâtiment.” (The fire detector saved lives by alerting the building’s occupants.)

    In Summary:

    “Le détecteur d’incendies” means “the fire detector” or “the smoke detector” in English. It’s a critical safety device in buildings, designed to detect and provide early warnings of fire, thereby helping to prevent potential disasters. These devices are subject to specific regulations and require regular maintenance to ensure their effectiveness.

    What does “la pile” mean?

    “La pile” in French refers to “the battery” in English. It denotes a source of stored electrical energy used to power various devices.

    Usage and Types:

    • Power Source: Batteries are used as power sources in a wide range of devices, from small electronics like remote controls and clocks to larger items like cars.
    • Variety: There are many types of batteries, including disposable (alkaline batteries) and rechargeable (like lithium-ion batteries). The type depends on the device and the required power.

    Context and Importance:

    • Everyday Use: Batteries are a common part of everyday life, powering essential and convenient devices.
    • Environmental Considerations: With the increasing use of batteries, their disposal and recycling have become important environmental concerns.


    • “Il faut changer la pile de la télécommande.” (The remote control’s battery needs to be changed.)
    • “Cette lampe de poche fonctionne avec des piles.” (This flashlight operates on batteries.)

    Cultural Notes:

    In France, disposing of batteries in regular trash is illegal due to environmental regulations. French law mandates special disposal for batteries to prevent soil and water pollution. These regulations are part of broader European Union directives focused on environmental protection.

    In French, “battery recycling spot” for batteries are called “point de collecte pour piles” or “point de recyclage pour piles.”

    Collection points for used batteries are commonly found in supermarkets, electronic stores, and municipal waste facilities. This approach is part of a conscious effort to encourage recycling and responsible waste management. The public is generally well-informed about these requirements, with significant awareness campaigns promoting proper disposal.

    This environmentally-conscious practice contrasts with some areas in the US, where regulations on battery disposal can be less stringent, although there is a growing trend towards better recycling and disposal methods. Overall, the emphasis in France on proper battery disposal reflects a strong commitment to environmental sustainability and public health.

    For “double A” and “triple A” batteries, the translations in French are:

    • “Piles AA”: For double A batteries. In French, “double A” is typically expressed as “AA” (pronounced “ah-ah”).
    • “Piles AAA”: For triple A batteries. Similarly, “triple A” is expressed as “AAA” (pronounced “ah-ah-ah”).

    In Summary:

    “La pile” means “the battery” in English, referring to a device that stores electrical energy for powering various electronic devices. Batteries are ubiquitous in modern life, with different types serving different purposes. Their importance extends beyond functionality to include environmental considerations regarding their disposal and recycling.

    What does “faible” mean?

    The word “faible” in French translates to “weak” or “feeble” in English. It is an adjective used to describe a lack of strength, power, or effectiveness.

    Usage in Various Contexts:

    • Physical Weakness: Describing someone who lacks physical strength.
      • Example: “Il est trop faible pour soulever cette boîte.” (He is too weak to lift this box.)
    • Character or Willpower: Indicating a lack of resolve or firmness.
      • Example: “Elle a un faible caractère.” (She has a weak character.)
    • Performance or Ability: Referring to a low level of skill or proficiency.
      • Example: “Ses connaissances en mathématiques sont faibles.” (His knowledge in mathematics is weak.)
    • Low Intensity: Describing something that is not strong or intense.
      • Example: “La lumière est trop faible pour lire.” (The light is too dim to read.)
    • “Point faible” (Weak point): A vulnerability or a weak aspect of something or someone.
    • “Un faible pour” (A soft spot for): When used in the phrase “avoir un faible pour,” it means to have a fondness or a soft spot for someone or something.

    In Summary:

    “Faible” in French means “weak” or “feeble” and is used to describe a lack of strength, resolve, ability, or intensity. It can apply to physical strength, character, skill levels, or the intensity of something. The word is versatile and used in various contexts to indicate areas where improvement or reinforcement might be needed.

    What does “inquiétez” mean?

    “Inquiétez” is a conjugated form of the French verb “inquiéter,” which means “to worry” or “to disturb” in English. Specifically, “inquiétez” is the second person plural form in the present indicative tense, translating to “you worry” when addressing a group or “you all worry.”

    Usage and Context:

    • Expressing Concern: Used to describe the act of being worried or concerned about something.
    • Addressing Multiple People: This form is used when speaking to more than one person.
    • Formal Address: It can also be used in a formal singular context, akin to using “vous” for politely addressing an individual.


    • “Ne vous inquiétez pas.” (Do not worry.)
    • “Pourquoi vous inquiétez-vous toujours pour des petites choses ?” (Why do you always worry about little things?)


    • Negative Form: Often used in the negative imperative form as “Ne vous inquiétez pas” (Don’t worry).
    • Interrogative Form: Can be used in questions, as in “Vous inquiétez-vous pour cela ?” (Are you worried about that?)

    In Summary:

    “Inquiétez” is from the verb “inquiéter,” meaning “to worry,” and is used in the second person plural or formal singular. It is often used to express concern or anxiety, either in statements or questions, and is particularly common in the negative form to reassure someone (“Ne vous inquiétez pas”).

    What does “il suffit” mean?

    The phrase “il suffit” in French translates to “it suffices” or “it is enough” in English. It’s used to indicate that something is adequate or sufficient for a certain purpose or need.

    Usage and Context:

    • Adequacy: “Il suffit” is commonly used to express that what is being done or what is present is sufficient or meets the necessary requirements.
    • Instructions or Advice: Often used when giving instructions, suggesting that a small action or amount is all that is needed.
    • Expression of Simplicity: Can imply that a solution or action is simpler or easier than one might think.


    • “Il suffit de presser ce bouton pour démarrer la machine.” (It is enough to press this button to start the machine.)
    • “Pour réussir, il suffit parfois de persévérer.” (To succeed, sometimes it is enough to persevere.)


    • “Il suffit de” + [infinitive verb]: Used to indicate what action is sufficient. For example, “il suffit de cuisiner” (it is enough to cook).
    • Imperative Form: Sometimes used in commands or instructions: “Il suffit!” (That’s enough! or Stop it!)

    In Summary:

    “Il suffit” means “it suffices” or “it is enough” in French. It’s used to convey that something meets the necessary requirements or that a simple action is all that’s needed to achieve a certain result. This phrase is common in both spoken and written French and is often used in instructions, advice, or to express the simplicity of an action or solution.

    What does “sortir” mean?

    “Sortir” in French can indeed mean “to take out” in addition to its primary meaning of “to go out” or “to exit.” In the context of the phrase “sortir la pile du boîtier,” “sortir” specifically means “to take out” or “to remove.” It’s used here to describe the action of removing or taking the battery out of its casing or compartment.

    So, “sortir” can have different meanings depending on the context, and when used with objects, it often refers to the action of removing them from a place or container.

    The verb “sortir” in French has various meanings depending on the context. Here are some of them:

    1. To Go Out/To Exit:
      • Primary meaning, referring to leaving a place.
      • Example: “Je sors de la maison.” (I’m going out of the house.)
    2. To Take Out/To Remove:
      • Refers to removing something from somewhere.
      • Example: “Sortir les ordures.” (Take out the trash.)
    3. To Publish/To Release:
      • Used in the context of releasing a product, like a book or a movie.
      • Example: “Le nouveau film sort ce week-end.” (The new movie comes out this weekend.)
    4. To Stick Out/To Protrude:
      • Referring to something extending out of a surface or space.
      • Example: “Sa chemise sort de son pantalon.” (His shirt is sticking out of his pants.)
    5. To Go On a Date/To Socialize:
      • Used informally to refer to dating or socializing.
      • Example: “Ils sortent ensemble depuis un mois.” (They have been dating for a month.)
    6. To Survive/To Get Through:
      • Refers to coming through a difficult situation.
      • Example: “Il est sorti indemne de l’accident.” (He came out of the accident unscathed.)
    7. To Bring Out/To Show:
      • Used when presenting or showing something.
      • Example: “Sortir ses meilleurs vins pour la fête.” (Bring out one’s best wines for the party.)

    What does “du boîtier” mean?

    In the phrase “sortir la pile du boîtier,” “boîtier” translates to “case,” “casing,” or “enclosure” in English. It refers to the protective covering or compartment that houses the battery in a device.

    Usage and Context:

    • Protective Cover: A “boîtier” is typically the part of an electronic device or equipment that encloses or holds the battery, designed to protect it and keep it in place.
    • Wide Applicability: This term can apply to various types of devices, from small electronics like remote controls and cameras to larger items like computers or household appliances.


    • “Ouvre le boîtier pour vérifier les piles.” (Open the case to check the batteries.)
    • “Le boîtier de la montre est étanche.” (The watch casing is waterproof.)

    Cultural Notes:

    • Precision in technical language is important in French, just as in many other languages. The use of “boîtier” reflects this precision, clearly identifying a specific part of a device.

    In Summary:

    In the context of “sortir la pile du boîtier,” “boîtier” refers to the case, casing, or enclosure of a device where the battery is located. It’s a term used across various types of electronic devices to denote the protective compartment that houses the battery.

    This clip is from the Balades podcast

    “Balades” is a great podcast for those new to French. Its slow pace and clear speech make it easy to follow and understand. The episodes are fun and cover a variety of topics, ideal for beginners. While designed for learners, the podcast stays in French, offering a full-dive into the language. It’s part of a wider group of French podcasts aimed at all levels, focusing on real-life use rather than just vocab and grammar. Regular listening, along with tools like transcripts and quizzes, helps boost understanding and speaking skills. “Balades” is a top pick for anyone starting their French learning journey.

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