In an early episode of the first season of The Good Place, Chidi tells Eleanor that to him, everybody in the neighborhood is speaking French since the Good Place automatically translates speech into the language that you speak.

But in the last episode of season 2, we see Eleanor meet Chidi in real life and she speaks to him in English. When Chidi replies to her, he sounds exactly like he does when speaking in the afterlife: with perfect English and no accent whatsoever.

So how is it that Chidi suddenly speaks English, and if he spoke it perfectly all along, why did his dialogue have to be translated to or from French in The Good Place?

  • 2
    It's also yet to be shown that they are in fact in "real life". They could still be in some sort of illusion created by Michael or the arbitratior. Perhaps his perfect English is a clue towards this possibility.
    – Tronman
    Apr 18, 2018 at 2:00
  • 2
    The real nitpick: like Eleanor, Chidi initially confuses Jason's "bud-hole" for "butt-hole". However, the pun only works in English and Chidi would've heard it in French, just as he hears everything else. There are several other minor plotholes like this, not sure if anyone's made a list.
    – user15319
    Apr 24, 2018 at 7:42
  • 1
    @Gnemlock no you are right...this is what OP was saying...?
    – BCLC
    Jan 8, 2021 at 9:15
  • nice observation/good catch by @user15319 . interesting. eh personally i don't really see this senegal thingy as really important. i figure they could've just made it that they're all english speakers and have this as a hint the s1 twist.
    – BCLC
    Jan 14, 2021 at 13:29
  • 1
    By the way I think the first sign of this inconsistency is the flashbacks to the boots episode in Chidi's first life. Jan 15, 2021 at 2:31

3 Answers 3


Note: Please upvote the question too!

Good question. No explanation as of the Season 2 finale. But, this is explained in the Season 3 premiere: (Maybe they made this explanation BECAUSE of this question. LOL. Edit: See below!)

His native language is French, but he went to American schools. He says

I grew up in Senegal so my native language is French. But I went to American schools, so I also speak English.

Here are some screenshots:

enter image description here

enter image description here

This may have been different in the reality where they all died as they originally did, but you're asking about the reality where Chidi speaks English.

Edit: Actually, that the season 3 premiere addresses this question is mentioned in some articles: 1, 2 (this article claims this Chidi thing to be a 'massive' plot hole. lol 'massive' really?), 3. Apparently, a lot of people had this question at the end of s2.

Actually there's another question that one of the above articles asks

Why does Chidi have an American accent, then?

The same article gives an official answer:

Well, according to The Good Place's creator Michael Schur, it was just a helluva lot easier that way.

  • My thoughts: Or he just has a good American accent. There are lots of multilingual people who are very good in multiple accents, like they really sound American when speaking (American) English and then they really sound German when speaking German. See this Code Geass case for example.

Realistically it's a plot hole, if you wanted an in-universe explanation then technically it's never stated that Chidi can't speak English, and it would still make sense for it to be translated into French in the Good Place if it was his first language since that's pretty much always going to be more comfortable even if fluent in the secondary language.

  • 6
    If he's teaching at a university in Australia, it's reasonable to assume that he is fluent in English.
    – Yozarian22
    Apr 10, 2018 at 14:55
  • @Yozarian22 He has a perfect American accent which is extremely unlikely given his country of origin and the fact that he doesn't live in the US. He would have had to have been educated in the US at an early enough age (under 10) that English would have been his default language, i.e. the one he would speak in the afterlife.
    – Jake
    Jun 18, 2018 at 9:22
  • @Jake it's explicitly stated in the show that he is not speaking English in the afterlife. While his American accent is realistically another minor plot hole he could have learnt English at any point during his life in an environment conducive to developing an American accent Jun 18, 2018 at 9:35
  • @motosubatsu I am only referring to the short window where he is speaking perfect American English while alive at the end of Season 2. You can't pick up a flawless accent like that at any point in life after the age of 10 or so. This is something they teach in basic developmental psychology and is also something you can figure out just anecdotally by meeting people who immigrated in their teens. You're right that it's not a major plot hole, but it was something I immediately noticed and I wish there had been some kind of in-universe explanation or perhaps an attempt at a Senegalese accent.
    – Jake
    Jun 19, 2018 at 20:31
  • 2
    ...unless Chidi is actually still in the afterlife at the end of S2 :O
    – Jake
    Jun 19, 2018 at 20:35

He teaches at an English-speaking university, of course he speaks English

While he assumes he is in the Good Place Chidi might well choose to speak French, his native language, but when Eleanor meets him in the real world he is is a Professor at an English-speaking university in an English speaking country. It is totally natural for him to default to English there.

And we know he is a cosmopolitan person who has travelled and been educated in more than one country. While his native country's language is French, he was probably educated in English from a young age and, since he has worked in english-speaking countries for some time (it must have taken him some time to write his long book and climb up the ladder of his profession) we can assume his English is good.

So there is no obvious plot hole or contradiction in what the show shows us. Chidi is fluent in more than one language. While in the Good Place he might choose to speak French (and this gives the show an excuse to show us some of the features supposedly making it the good place) there is no contradiction to his speaking English fluently while in an Australian university in the real world.


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