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Transfert s01e22, Quiz 33: me dis

    Take on this passage, can you catch all these key words and phrases? Listen for “s’échappe”, “me dis”, “j’suis”, and “tu te fais opérer”. Dive in with our transcription quiz, choose your level and fill int he blanks as you go.

    Learn French with a podcast snippet! This clip is is from Transfert s01ep22. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode here.

    7 seconds, 33 words
    -, ', « ' ' ? ? »
    jour-là,euh s'échappetoilettes,dis « j'suis l'hôpital ? netefaispasopérer ? »
    Cece jour-là,euh s'échappeallertoilettes,dis « j'suispourquoinevaspasà l'hôpital ? Pourquoinetefaispasopérer ? »

    The above audio sample and transcription is from Transfert s01ep22. We do not own the content. Listen to the entire episode here.

    I say (to myself)

    Curious about all the reflexive verbs in this podcast? I was.

    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?

    Ce ce jour-là, quand maman euh s’échappe pour aller aux toilettes, me dis « j’suis mais pourquoi tu ne vas pas à l’hôpital ? Pourquoi tu ne te fais pas opérer ? »

    That day, when Mom, uh, slips out to go to the bathroom, she says to me, “I don’t know, why don’t you go to the hospital? Why don’t you have an operation?”

    The above translation from Deepl

    What does “s’échappe pour aller aux toilettes” mean?

    The phrase “s’échappe pour aller aux toilettes” translates to “slips away to go to the bathroom” in English. It describes the action of discreetly leaving a situation or location to go to the restroom.

    Usage and Context:

    • Discretion: The term “s’échappe” (slips away/escapes) implies a level of discretion or subtlety. It suggests that the person is trying to leave without drawing much attention.
    • Common Situations: This phrase can be used in various social or formal settings where a person might want to leave discreetly, such as during meetings, social gatherings, or events.


    • “Pendant le dîner, il s’échappe pour aller aux toilettes.” (During the dinner, he slips away to go to the bathroom.)
    • “Elle s’est échappée un moment pour aller aux toilettes pendant la conférence.” (She slipped away for a moment to go to the bathroom during the conference.)

    Cultural Notes:

    In many cultures, including French, it’s considered polite to leave discreetly for the restroom, especially in formal or group settings. The use of “s’échappe” captures this sense of social etiquette.

    Related Expressions:

    • “Aller aux toilettes” (to go to the bathroom)
    • “Sortir discrètement” (to leave discreetly)

    In Summary: “S’échappe pour aller aux toilettes” is a phrase used to describe someone discreetly leaving a situation to go to the restroom, often employed in contexts where maintaining a level of decorum or subtlety is important.

    What does “me dis” mean?

    The phrase “me dis” translates to “I say to myself” or “I tell myself” in English. When used before opening a quote, it is a way of introducing one’s own thoughts or internal monologue.

    Usage and Context:

    • Introducing Thoughts: “Me dis” is used when someone is about to quote their own thoughts or something they said to themselves. It sets the stage for a personal reflection or inner dialogue.
    • First Person Narrative: This structure is common in first-person narratives or when someone is describing their thought process in a conversation.


    • “En voyant la pluie, je me dis « Il vaut mieux prendre un parapluie. »” (Seeing the rain, I say to myself, “It’s better to take an umbrella.”)
    • “Je me dis souvent « Demain sera un meilleur jour. »” (I often tell myself, “Tomorrow will be a better day.”)

    Cultural Notes:

    In French, directly quoting one’s thoughts or inner monologue is a common narrative technique, both in literature and in everyday speech. It adds a layer of introspection and personal insight to the conversation or text.

    Formatting in French:

    • The French use guillemets (« ») for quotations instead of the English-style quotation marks (” “).
    • The phrase “me dis” would be followed by the guillemets, inside which the thought or statement is placed.

    In Summary:

    “Me dis” followed by a quote is a way to introduce and quote one’s own thoughts or internal dialogue in French. It’s a narrative technique that adds personal reflection and depth to conversations or storytelling, and it’s formatted with guillemets for quotes.

    What does “j’suis” mean?

    Given the new context that “j’suis” comes from a transcript, it’s possible that in this case, “j’suis” is being used more as a filler word, similar to how someone might use “um” or “uh” in English. In conversational French, filler words or phrases are quite common, especially in informal speech or when someone is thinking aloud.

    Reinterpreting the Phrase:

    In the phrase “me dis « j’suis mais pourquoi tu ne vas pas à l’hôpital ? Pourquoi tu ne te fais pas opérer ? »”, “j’suis” might be serving as a momentary pause as the speaker gathers their thoughts. This is a bit atypical, as “j’suis” is a contraction of “je suis” (I am), but in spontaneous, informal speech, such usages can occur.

    Examples of Fillers:

    • Typical Fillers: Common French fillers include “euh,” “ben,” “alors,” and sometimes “tu sais” (you know).
    • “J’suis” as a Filler: While less common, “j’suis” might be used in a similar way, especially if the speaker starts a sentence and then pauses to think.

    Contextual Usage:

    • Informal and Spontaneous Speech: In a transcript capturing spoken language, you often find fillers that might not be grammatically complete or might not fit the typical use of the word.
    • Thinking Aloud: If the speaker is thinking out loud, hesitating, or formulating their thoughts on the spot, fillers like “j’suis” could naturally appear.


    In the context of a transcript, “j’suis” in your provided phrase might be functioning as a filler or a pause in the speaker’s thought process, somewhat akin to “um” or “uh” in English. This usage reflects the nuances and idiosyncrasies of spoken French, where speakers often use informal contractions and fillers in fluid, spontaneous conversation.

    What does “se faire opérer” mean?

    “Se faire opérer” is a standard French expression that translates to “to have surgery” or “to undergo an operation” in English. It’s a reflexive form used to describe the action of receiving surgical treatment.

    Common Usage:

    • The phrase is commonly used in medical contexts when referring to someone undergoing a surgical procedure.
    • It is straightforward and is not limited to any particular type of surgery; the specific nature of the surgery is usually clarified in the conversation.


    • “Elle doit se faire opérer du genou la semaine prochaine.” (She has to have knee surgery next week.)
    • “Il s’est fait opérer du cœur.” (He underwent heart surgery.)


    “Se faire opérer” is a factual, neutral way to describe the act of undergoing surgery. It’s used both in general conversation and in medical discussions.

    In Summary: The phrase “se faire opérer” is a common way to express the concept of having or undergoing surgery in French. It’s used in various contexts related to medical procedures and treatments.

    Is it just me or are there are a lot of reflexive verbs in her speech?

    Reflexive verbs in French, known as “les verbes pronominaux,” play a significant role in the language and offer nuances that are distinct from English. Here’s a deeper look into their usage and significance:

    Definition and Basic Usage:

    • Reflexive verbs are used when the subject of the verb is also the object. In French, they are formed with reflexive pronouns like “me” (myself), “te” (yourself), “se” (himself, herself, itself, themselves), “nous” (ourselves), and “vous” (yourselves, themselves).
    • Example: “Je me lave” (I wash myself) – “laver” becomes reflexive to show that the subject is performing the action on themselves.

    Commonality in Spoken French:

    • Reflexive verbs are very common in spoken French. They are not just standard sayings but integral parts of the language used to express a wide range of actions, especially those pertaining to daily routines, emotions, and reciprocal actions.
    • They aren’t seen as redundant in French; rather, they provide a necessary detail about who is performing the action.

    Nuances and Politeness:

    • Using reflexive verbs correctly is about grammatical accuracy, not politeness. For French speakers, it’s a natural and essential aspect of expressing certain actions or states.
    • Learners adopting these correctly are not seen as being overly polite or improper; they are simply using the language correctly.

    Comparison with Passive Voice:

    • Reflexive verbs in French are different from the passive voice in English. The passive voice involves an action being done to the subject by someone else, while reflexive verbs indicate the subject is acting upon themselves.
    • Example: Passive voice – “The book was read by him.” Reflexive – “Il s’est lu le livre” (He read the book to himself).

    Why So Many Reflexive Verbs?

    • The frequent use of reflexive verbs in French can sometimes puzzle English speakers, as English uses fewer reflexive constructions. In French, these verbs add a layer of meaning about who is involved in the action and how.
    • Some verbs change their meaning when used reflexively, adding to the richness of the language.

    Learners and Reflexive Verbs:

    • For non-native speakers, mastering reflexive verbs is crucial for fluency and comprehension. They are a fundamental part of French grammar and are essential for expressing everyday activities, feelings, and interactions accurately.

    In summary, reflexive verbs in French are not redundant or overly polite but are a grammatical necessity for expressing certain actions and states. Their frequent use in spoken French reflects the language’s structure and nuances, differing significantly from English, especially in terms of how actions are described and who is involved in them.

    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!

    Take on this passage, can you catch all these key words and phrases? Listen for “s’échappe”, “me dis”, “j’suis”, and “tu te fais opérer”. Dive in with our transcription quiz, choose your level and fill int he blanks as you go.

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