Paroles 2: ‘Sur ma vie’ by Charles Aznavour (learn French words with a song)

Before listening to the podcast above, please play the video below, while reading the lyrics in French and English underneath it. Let it play a couple of times and listen carefully to his pronunciation of the individual words. Once you know the song and its meaning, my commentary will be much more interesting. In the podcast, I will pick some words from the text to explain and comment. Hopefully this will help you to more easily remember them and learn to recognize them in spoken French.

Charles Aznavour is perhaps the most famous French singer who ever lived. He wrote and sang more than thousand songs. I am very fond of his voice, and also of the fact that many of his songs are like very touching short stories. This song is a good example. It  tells of a man who has vowed to always love a woman (you can tell it is a woman by the female inclination of the verb venue, with an e at the end). They are about to get married. He is waiting for her in the church but she does not come. He is heartbroken, but vows again he will always love her, regardless of the pain she has caused him.

Sur ma vie
Written en performed by Charles Aznavour

Sur ma vie On my life
Je t’ai juré un jour I have sworn to you one day
De t’aimer jusqu’au dernier jour de mes jours To love you until the last day of my days
Et le même mot And the same word
Devait très bientôt Would very soon
Nous unir devant Dieu et les hommes unite us before God and man
Sur ma vie je t’ai fait le serment On my life I swore to you (I have made the sermon)
Que ce lien tiendrai jusqu’à la fin des temps That this bond would hold until the end of time
Ainsi nous vivions So we lived
Ivres de passion Drunk with passion
Et mon cœur voulait t’offrir mon nom And my heart wanted to offer you my name
Près des orgues qui chantaient By the organs that were singing
Face à Dieu qui priait Facing God who prayed
Heureux je t’attendais Happily I was waiting for you
Mais les orgues se sont tues But the organs fell silent
Et Dieu a disparu And God disappeared
Car tu n’es pas venue For you did not come (venir)
Sur ma vie On my life
J’ai juré que mon cœur I have sworn that my heart
Ne battrait jamais pour aucun autre cœur Would never beat for any other heart
Et tout est perdu And all is lost
Car il ne bat plus For it beats no more
Mais il pleure mon amour déçu But it weeps for my disappointed love
Sur ma vie On my life
Je t’ai juré un jour I have sworn to you one day
De t’aimer jusqu’au dernier jour de mes jours To love you till the last day of my days
Et même à présent And even now (at the present)
Je tiendrai serment I’ll keep my oath
Malgré tout le mal que tu m’as fait Despite all the wrong you’ve done to me
Sur ma vie On my life
Chérie Darling
Je t’aimerais I will love you


La vie the life (viable, vive la France)
Jurer swear (jury, juror)
Jour day (journal)
Dernier last
Très very (très bon)
Unir Unite (unique, make one – une)
Le serment The sermon, here : the promise
Lien Bond, link (the bank has a lien on our property)
La Fin the end (final, finite, finish)
Passion Passion
Cœur Heart (cordial) Letter œ is a ligature of o and e. amœba and œstrogen. Here’s how to type it. 
Offrir Offer
Mon nom my name (le nom)
Dieu God (deity, Dieudonné, Mon Dieu !)
Mais But
Disparu Disappeared (to appear = apparaître -> dis(a)parraître)
Venue (have) come (venir, venue, a place to show up)
Jamais Never
Bat Beats (battre = to beat) battle, batter, drum kit – batterie
À present at present, now
Le mal Bad of evil, malediction, malpractice, Malfoi (bad faith)


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment