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And If We Sang – Learning Grammar Through Music Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Culture, Grammar, Music

Some things like learning les genres des mots (the gender of words) can take a long time and requires a lot of memorization. If you’re lucky sometimes there’s a catchy song that helps the process and makes practicing grammar something you can do for fun!

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

When learning le français, there are some things that can seem scary to new learners. The huge tables of conjugaisons are intimidating even before seeing all the irregular verbs and le subjontif!

One conjugation that really confused me at first was how to say conditional phrases that start with si (if):

Si j’étudiais le français tous les jours, je maîtriserais la langue !
If I studied French every day, I would master the language!

I had a lot of trouble accepting that l’imparfait is used for verbs after si and often made the mistake of saying:

Si j’étudierais le français tous les jours, je maîtriserais la langue !

Heursement (luckily), I stumbled across a fun song by Oldelaf et Monsieur D:

Et si on chantait
And if we sang

The phrase si on chantait (if we sang) is used many times throughout the entire song, making it impossible to forget how to correctly conjugate the verb. It also teaches a lot about saying comment (how) you do something. The whole song revolves around making fun of singing in ridiculous ways!

La chanson is also pretty catchy, so listening to it multiple times does not feal like les devoirs (homework) and will help you easily internalize something that can be as hard to appreciate as le genre d’un mot!

Take a listen to la chanson and you’ll be singing along in no time!

Voici Et si on chantait avec les paroles (en français et en anglais) :

Si on chantait un peu comme ça
En faisant des petites manières
Comme si notre langue parfois
Avait le petit doigt en l’air
Si on chantait en murmurant
Forcément on entendrait moins
Ou bien faudrait murmurer fort
Pour que la voix ressorte enfin

If we sang a little like this
Making small gestures
As if our tongue sometimes
Had its pinky in the air
If we sang while whispering
Surely you would hear less
Or we should whisper loudly
So that our voice is finally heard

Et si on chantait
Juste de bon cœur
Sans vouloir copier
Un autre chanteur
Et si on chantait
Sans se prendre la tête
Tout le monde, qui sait
Chanterait peut-être

And if we sang
Just for fun
Without wanting to copy
Another singer
And if we sang
Without worrying about it
Everyone, who knows
Would maybe sing

Si cantabamos en espanol
Como los de el Guadalquivir
O sobre la Costa del Sol
Tout le monde verrait que ça veut rien dire
Si on chantait sans les consonnes
Eu é un hum un une an on
Si on chantait en rigolant
Eh ah ha hi (Firmin!)

Si cantabamos en espanol
Como los de el Guadalquivir
O sobre la Costa del Sol*
Everyone would see that it doesn’t mean anything
If we sang without consonants
Eu é un hum un une an on
If we sang while laughing
Eh ah ha hi (Firmin!)

Si on chantait sans mélodie
Ce serait pareil en différent
On serait la nouvelle scène frenchie
Comme Biolay en plus déprimant
Si on chantait près du micro
Ça satur’rait évidemment
Si on chantait loin du micro
Je peux pas aller beaucoup plus loin? Aaaaaahhh!

If we sang without a melody
It would be the same in how it’s different
We would be the new Frenchie scene
Like a more depressing Biolay
If we sang close to the microphone
It would be saturated obviously
If we sang far away from the microphone
I can’t go much farther away? Aaaaaahhh!

Si on chantait sans les paroles

If we sang without lyrics

Hum-hum oui on s’ferait chier, quoi!
Si on chantait sans Monsieur D
On pourrait faire des harmonies
Sans fausses notes ni vulgarités, (je t’emmerde, moi!)
On serait enfin un groupe uni (toi aussi Firmin!)

Hum-hum yes we would be annoying, yeah!
If we sang without Monsieur D
We could create harmonies
Without any wrong notes or vulgarity, (Screw you!)
We would finally be a united group (You too Firmin!)

Et si on chantait
(On pourrait chanter comme Jeanne Moreau)
Juste de bon cœur
(Jeanne Moreau téléphone maison)
Sans vouloir copier
(Et si on chantait à l’envers)
Un autre chanteur
(Ouais, ça peut être sympa
(ach euch euch ess auch et ich ass eff og)
Et si on chantait
(Et si on chantait en répétant, et si on chantait en répétant, et si on chantait en répétant, et si on chantait en répétant)
Sans se prendre la tête
(Oh non c’est chiant, oh non c’est chiant,
oh non c’est chiant
(Je préfère encore Jeanne Moreau)
Tout le monde, qui sait
Chanterait peut-être

And if we sang
(We could sing like Jeanne Moreau)
Just for fun
(Jeanne Moreau phone home)
Without wanting to copy
(And if we sang backwards)
Another singer
(Yeah, that could be fun)
(ach euch euch ess auch et ich ass eff og)
And if we sang
(And if we sang while repeating, and if sang while repeating, and if sang while repeating, and if sang while repeating)
Without worrying about it
(Oh no that’s annoying, oh no that’s annoying, oh no that’s annoying)
(I prefer Jeanne Moreau again)
Everyone, who knows
Would maybe sing

*The joke is people won’t understand the lyrics if they are en espagnol (in Spanish).

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.