âme: soul, heart, spirit in French

Croire & Santa Claus: "To believe" in French

Christmas in Provence Noël en Provence (c) Kristin Espinasse

croire (krwar) verb
  1. to believe, to trust  2. to think

Citation du Jour:
Etrangement, on en veut souvent à la personne qui vous dit une vérité difficile à entendre, impossible à croire. Strangely, you often resent the person who tells you a truth difficult to hear, impossible to believe. --Marc Levy

A Day in a French Life...

Max, Jackie and I are seated at the table, drinking sirops de fraise.*

"Maman,* do you know what 'si' means in Italian?" Jackie says, sharing another language lesson from class today. When Max perks up, his sister's brow furrows.
"Bouche cousue, Max!" Don't tell! Jackie warns.
"'Si' means 'oui'," he answers, anyway.
"Non," Jackie replies. "'Si' means 'yes'!"
"C'est la même chose!" It's the same thing! Max complains. When Jackie ignores him the subject turns to Christmas and to the news that "le Père Noël n'existe pas," Santa Claus doesn't exist.

"Since when don't you believe in Santa Claus, Jackie?"
"Depuis que Max m'a dit qu'il s'est caché sous le sapin et qu'il vous a vu avec les cadeaux," since Max told me he hid under the tree and saw you guys with the presents. "Impossible. Our tree has never been big enough to hide under!" I answer, evasively. "Besides, I know only one person who believes in le Père Noël and she is in first grade," Jackie adds. It occurs to me that so many little
French lips have been flapping around the schoolyard, questioning the existence of Papa Noël.

I study the non-croyants,* who seem to share a secret about Santa. My daughter is wearing lopsided pigtails held in place by mismatched hairbands. I think about the French expression she has unwittingly taught me during the Italian lesson when she told her brother to shush--"bouche cousue!"--and how delightful its literal translation is: "mouth sewn!" My mind then wanders to the party poopers who decided the jig was up for Père Noël. I pull out my letter to Santa and note "spools of thread" and "a truckload of big-eyed needles" -- my last two requests for L'Homme en Rouge,* along with the strength to sew so many French mouths shut so that the next time my daughter inquires, "Et toi, t'y crois?" And you, do you believe? French têtes* may shake, but one American mom will shout out: "SI!"

Little max and jackie christmas tree

*References: sirop de fraise = strawberry syrup (drink); la maman (f) = mom; non-croyant = non-believer; L'Homme en Rouge = The Man in Red; la tête (f) = head

Listen: Hear Max pronounce the word "croire": Download croire.wav

faire croire = to persuade
   faire croire à quelqu'un = to brainwash
croire au père Noël = to be naive
c'est à n'y pas croire = it's unbelievable
en croire quelqu'un = to take someone's word for it

je crois, tu crois, il croit, nous croyons, vous croyez, ils croient

croire is from the Latin, "credere" which is also Italian for "to believe."

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