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Passerelles ep. 1, Quiz 67: ça veut pas dire que

    In just 29 words, this clip from ‘Passerelles’ navigates the delicate balance between individual desires and societal expectations. What do phrases like ‘pas vécu,’ ‘-là,’ ‘ça veut pas dire que,’ and ‘liées’ reveal about this tension? Join us as we unpack these French nuances that make all the difference.

    This clip is from Passerelles Episode 1. Listen and fill in what you hear below. Read more and find a translation below. Listen to the full episode here.

    13 seconds, 29 words

    This audio sample and transcription is from Passerelles ep. 1. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode

    , ' -., ' ',.
    , 'vécu normes-.,veutdire j'intériorisecertain 'idéesliées,maternitéexemple.
    , j'aivécu normes-là.Après,çaveutdireque j'intériorisecertainnombre d'idéesliéesàâge,autourmaternitéparexemple.

    That doesn’t mean that

    Let’s explore some cultural conclusions, without trying to make sweeping generalizations or rely on stereotypes…

    This passage discusses individuality and societal expectations, particularly in the context of age and motherhood. Here are some cultural and linguistic notes:

    • “Moi, j’ai pas vécu avec ces normes-là”: The use of “Moi,” at the beginning of the sentence emphasizes personal experience and individuality. The speaker appears to distance themselves from societal norms, highlighted by “ces normes-là,” indicating that they haven’t lived according to those specific norms.
    • “Après, ça veut pas dire”: “Après” in this context could be interpreted as “however,” signaling a nuanced stance. It suggests that even though the speaker hasn’t lived by societal norms, that doesn’t mean they are entirely free from certain ingrained ideas.
    • “j’intériorise pas un certain nombre d’idées”: “Intérioriser” means to internalize, and the speaker is admitting that they have internalized “a certain number of ideas.” This is an acknowledgment of the complex interplay between individual agency and societal expectations.
    • “liées à mon âge, autour de la maternité par exemple”: The mention of age and motherhood suggests that societal expectations around these topics have been internalized to some extent. In France, there are indeed societal expectations around age and milestones like motherhood, even though there’s a general respect for individual choices.

    The passage captures the tension between individuality and societal expectations, which is a topic often discussed in French intellectual and cultural discourse. It showcases a nuanced self-awareness that acknowledges the impact of societal norms while also asserting individual experience.

    What’s opening up for you with this clip?

    The snippet in English

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

    Moi, j’ai pas vécu avec ces normes-là. Après, ça veut pas dire que j’intériorise pas un certain nombre d’idées liées à mon âge, autour de la maternité par exemple.

    I’ve never lived up to those standards. But that doesn’t mean I don’t internalize a certain number of ideas linked to my age, around motherhood for example.

    The above translation from Deepl. Source

    What does “pas vécu” mean?

    The phrase “J’ai pas vécu” is a colloquial French expression meaning “I haven’t lived.” In this informal expression, the negation “ne” is dropped, which is common in spoken French. The context determines the specific implication: it might mean the speaker hasn’t experienced something specific, or it could imply a broader lack of life experience.

    Components of Interest

    • “Pas”: The word used for negation in French. Normally used in a pair with “ne,” but often dropped in casual speech.
    • “Vécu”: The past participle of the verb “vivre,” which means “to live.”

    When to Use

    You would use this phrase to emphasize that you haven’t experienced something. This could range from missing out on a specific event (“J’ai pas vécu ça”) to suggesting you have limited life experiences in a general sense (“J’ai pas vécu, je ne sais pas ce que c’est que de voyager”).


    • “J’ai vécu” (I have lived)
    • “J’ai expérimenté ça” (I have experienced that)

    In Summary

    The phrase “J’ai pas vécu” is a way to say that you haven’t had certain life experiences. Depending on the context, this could be a specific admission or a more general statement about one’s life experiences. It’s an informal phrase that might come up in casual conversations about life events, personal growth, or experiences yet to be had.

    What does “-là” mean?

    The suffix “-là” is used in French to emphasize or specify which particular thing you’re talking about. In the phrase “ces normes-là,” it serves to pinpoint or emphasize “these particular norms” as opposed to other norms. The effect is to draw attention to the specific norms being discussed, usually in a context where various norms might exist.

    When to Use

    Use “-là” when you want to emphasize, specify, or distinguish something in a conversation. It’s useful when there are multiple possibilities or options under discussion, and you want to make it clear which one you’re referring to.

    Antonyms or Opposites

    • “-ci” as in “ces normes-ci” would specify norms that are close to the speaker in some sense (temporal, spatial, or conceptual), contrasting them with other norms that are “farther away” in some sense. However, “-ci” is used less frequently than “-là” for emphasis.

    In Summary

    The suffix “-là” in “ces normes-là” is used to emphasize or specify which particular norms you’re referring to. It’s a way to add specificity or emphasis in a conversation, particularly when multiple options or possibilities are being discussed.

    What does “ça veut pas dire que” mean?

    The phrase “Ça veut pas dire que” translates to “That doesn’t mean that” in English. It’s often used to clarify or correct a potential misunderstanding, indicating that one fact or situation does not necessarily imply another that one might commonly think it does.

    When to Use

    Use this phrase when you want to prevent or address a possible misunderstanding or jump to a conclusion. For example, if someone says, “He’s a doctor,” and you respond with, “Ça veut pas dire qu’il est riche” (“That doesn’t mean he’s rich”), you’re asserting that the profession doesn’t necessarily entail wealth.

    Antonyms or Opposites

    • “Ça veut dire que” (“That means that”) is the positive form, used when you are asserting that one thing does imply another.


    • “Il a déménagé à Paris, mais ça veut pas dire qu’il a un bon travail.” (“He moved to Paris, but that doesn’t mean he has a good job.”)
    • “Elle sourit tout le temps, ça veut pas dire qu’elle est toujours heureuse.” (“She smiles all the time, but that doesn’t mean she’s always happy.”)


    The “que” in the phrase “Ça veut pas dire que” is essential because it introduces the clause that follows, explaining what exactly “doesn’t mean” what. The “que” serves as a subordinating conjunction that links the main clause “Ça veut pas dire” (“That doesn’t mean”) to the dependent clause that specifies what misconception is being corrected or clarified.

    In Summary

    “Ça veut pas dire que” is a useful phrase for clarifying or correcting potential misunderstandings in conversation. It allows the speaker to indicate that one situation or fact doesn’t necessarily imply another. It’s a common tool for nuanced expression in French.

    What does “liées” mean?

    The word “liées” is the feminine plural form of the past participle “lié,” which comes from the verb “lier.” In English, “lier” translates to “to link,” “to connect,” or “to bind.” Therefore, “liées” describes things that are connected, linked, or bound together.


    • “Les villes sont liées par une autoroute.” (The cities are linked by a highway.)
    • “Les deux événements sont liés.” (The two events are connected.)
    • “Les personnes liées par le mariage.” (People bound by marriage.)

    When to Use:

    You would use “liées” when you want to indicate that there’s a relationship or connection between two or more things, whether they be abstract concepts, events, or physical objects.

    Related Phrases:

    • “Être lié à” (To be connected to)
    • “Se sentir lié” (To feel connected)


    If you’re looking to express the opposite idea—that things are not connected—you could use terms like “indépendantes” (independent) or “isolées” (isolated).

    In Summary:

    The word “liées” signifies a connection or linkage between entities, whether they’re people, places, or ideas. It’s a versatile term that you’ll come across in many different contexts, from casual conversation to academic discussion.

    What is opening up for you?

    Comment below with the words you thought you heard, where you struggled, where you surprised yourself, or what you thought about this clip. Every little bit inspires other learners, thank you for being that inspiration to others on their French fluency journey!

    In just 29 words, this clip from ‘Passerelles’ navigates the delicate balance between individual desires and societal expectations. What do phrases like ‘pas vécu,’ ‘-là,’ ‘ça veut pas dire que,’ and ‘liées’ reveal about this tension? Join us as we unpack these French nuances that make all the difference.

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