[In this lesson, let’s analyze a scene from Netlix’ Call My Agent, episode 6 of season 2 (“Juliette”). If you want to follow along, you’ll find that scene around the 45:40 mark.]
“Ouais ouais, je sais j’suis là, j’vais t’expliquer.”
You’ll hear French sentences like that in everyday life. They can be hard to understand! Luckily, you can practice your everyday French with fun pop culture, like Netflix shows.
Want all the vocabulary of the lesson ?
1 - Dialogue opening: “ouais” and near future tense
For instance, the scene we’ll focus on today starts with:
Ouais… [inaudible] = Yeah…
J’vais prendre une coupe s’il vous plaît. = I’ll have a flute, please.
Salut. = Hi.
Ouais ouais, je sais j’suis là, j’vais t’expliquer. = Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m here, I’ll explain.
Even in these first few lines of that scene, you can learn a few very common French sentences and mannerisms. And they speak very fast – so it’s good practice!
Ouais is a casual, everyday way to say Oui, yes.
In the same way as Je (= “I”), often gets shortened in J’ – even when it’s not before a vowel. French people love to eat the letter “e” !
So J’vais prendre une coupe, s’il vous plaît. Is the informal pronunciation of “Je vais prendre une coupe, s’il vous plaît.” (= I’ll have a flute, please.)
It’s a simple sentence to learn about le futur proche – the near future tense!
→ Je vais + [verb] = “I’m going to” + [verb]
Here she probably talks about une coupe de champagne, a flute of champagne, since they’re at a fancy reception.
The last sentence here recaps what we’ve just seen:
Ouais ouais, je sais j’suis là, j’vais t’expliquer.
= Yeah yeah, I know, I’m here, I’m going to explain (it) to you. (literally)
(In English, you would rather say “I can explain.”)
With “ouais”, “j’suis”, and the near futur tense – all in one sentence.
2 - Making up and clinking glasses
That scene comes from the French show Dix pour cent – a title that can mean both “ten percents” and “ten people working for a hundred.” It’s a fitting title in both meanings – since it’s a show about talent agents.
In English, it’s called Call My Agent. It’s the biggest French show that I actually follow. And you can watch it on Netflix!
In this scene, at a fancy reception, experienced agent Andrea meets her young former assistant Camille who quit her job a few episodes ago. So it’s a bit awkward. Let’s see how it plays out:
Nan, mais c’est pas la peine. C’est pas facile de plus être mon assistante, hein ?
= Nah, but don’t bother. It’s not easy not being my assistant anymore, right?
Tchin. = Cheers.
Tchin. Tu sais que tu m’as manqué ? = Cheers. You know I missed you?
Ah bon ? J’pensais pas. = Oh really? I didn’t think you would.
Nan is the informal pronunciation of Non (= no.)
Ce n’est pas la peine (or C’est pas la peine when dropping the “ne”) is a very common sentence, meanting “It’s not worth it. / It’s not worth the trouble. / Don’t bother.”
Hein? is a small word we use kind of everywhere, especially as an interrogation, like “Is it?” /“Isn’t it?” / “What did you say?”
Tu sais que tu m’as manqué ? means You know that I missed you? / You know what? I missed you.
→ In French, we say Tu me manques. for “I miss you” – subject and object are reversed for this verb! “Tu me manques” : Click here to find the full lesson.
Ah bon ? J’pensais pas. is very casual French, for Oh yeah? I didn’t know. It’s in l’imparfait, the imperfect tense.
Right before that though, you saw an important custom: trinquer (= to cheer and clink glasses.) You can do it by sharing “Tchin. Tchin.” (as in the scene) or Santé! (= Good health!)
3 - Everyday French when you’re at loss for words
The scene goes on with a bit of fashion-shaming:
Qu’est-ce que c’est qu’ces chaussures ? = What the hell are these shoes?
→ Qu’est-ce que c’est que ça ? = Qu’est-ce que c’est ? / C’est quoi ? (= What is it?) but with more surprise.
Oh là là. Ouais, j’avoue ! C’est à ma mère. = Oh no… Oh yeah, I have to say that’s bad! They’re my mom’s.
→ J’avoue = I confess, I admit (literally), popular among young people for “you’re right.”
Then comes Andrea’s proposition:
…Camille, tu connais New York ?
= Camille, do you know New York?
Hum, non. Enfin si, bien sûr. Mais euh, j’y suis jamais allée quoi.
= Hmm, no. Well, yes, of course. But hum, I’ve never been there, I mean.
Hum. Mais tu parles anglais ?
= Hum. But you can speak English?
“Yes, a little.”
Ça te dirait de m’accompagner à New York ? Venir travailler avec moi dans une grosse agence ? UBA ? J’ai besoin d’une assistante.
= Would you like to go to New York with me? To work with me in a big agency? UBA? I need an assistant.
Camille is dumbfounded. She’s looking for words, so she speaks classic informal spoken French. When she says:
Hum, non. = Hmm no (I’ve never been to New York City)
Enfin si, bien sûr. = I mean, of course I do. (She does know about the city.)
→ Enfin = In the end (literally) = “I mean” (figuratively)
→ Si is oui but after a negation: (Meaning of “Si” in French)
Mais euh, j’y suis jamais allée quoi. = But hum, I’ve never been there, I mean.
→ Euh = filler when looking for words. It’s not elegant but it’s a deep-seated French habit.
→ Ending a sentence with quoi. = informal (and not very elegant) way to say “I mean.”
Andrea is much cooler and collected. But she also uses everyday French you can use in a conversation. For instance:
Ça te dirait… ? = “Would you like?”/ “What would you say?” (casual French)
Ça te dirait de m’accompagner à New York? = “What would you say about coming to New York with me?”
Notice also: J’ai besoin = I need.
4 - The agreement, and leaving the conversation
Finally, Andrea and Camille hatch out an agreement.
…Euh, je sais pas. De quoi, quand ?… Comment ?
= Hum, I don’t know. Of what? When? …How?
→ At loss for words, Camille tries to evade the decision with more questions.
Nan mais attends, on s’en fout ça, c’est des détails. Ça t’dit ou pas ?
= Oh come on, we don’t care about that, that’s all details. Are you in or not?
→ “Nan mais attends”= No but wait (literally) = “Let’s be frank.” / “I stop you right here.” / “Oh come on!” (figuratively)
→ On s’en fout = We don’t care / We don’t give a damn (mildly rude)
Ben je sais… Ouais ! C’est fou ! Ben d’accord !
= Well I (don’t) know… Yes! That’s crazy! Well, OK!
→ Ben = informal pronunciation for Bien = Well… (logical adverb)
→ D’accord = I agree / OK. Useful in French debates and discussions!
Finally, Andrea leaves with:
On en reparle. = We’ll talk about that later.
→ Reparler = re + parler = parler (to talk) + again
Re is a special prefix that often means again or back before a verb. You’ll learn more about it in next week’s lesson! (Spoilers!)
So now, you can watch the full scene. …Without subtitles! I know, they speak very fast, especially Andrea, so it’s OK if you still have trouble hearing all the letters! How much can you understand?
You can do that same work for any piece of French media you’re watching!
It takes time, it’s real work, but it’s still a fun way to practice understanding real spoken French.
Or dive deeper into the grammar of everyday French conversations:
– Le futur proche : near future tense
– Dropping the “ne” in informal negative sentences
– “Tu me manques” (I miss you) : the French verb “manquer”
– L’imparfait, the imperfect tense
– Meaning of “Si” in French
À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!
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