French Language – Pom, pom, pom Posted by on Dec 17, 2019 in Culture, Language

I’ve heard it said that if you don’t encounter a language before a certain age, there are sounds in that language that will not only be difficult (if not impossible) for you to pronounce properly, but even hard for you to hear! I say it’s never too late as long as you apply yourself. This week, I thought we’d take a break from the holidays1 and the strikes, which sadly have lasted now almost two weeks, continuing to cause chaos across France and look at three French words that will help hone your listening and speaking skills.

La Pomme

J’aime bien les pommes. J’essaie d’en manger une tous les jours. (I really like apples. I try to eat one every day.)

La Paume

When I was un élève à l’école (a student in school) studying French history, I never quite got what apples had to do with the French Revolution. And then I realized that the famous serment du jeu de paume (Tennis court oath) was referring to a sport and not a fruit2You see the thing is, the average American seems to pronounce all three words – pomme, paume, and palme – exactly the same. Le jeu de paume is indeed a tennis-like sport played indoors, and originally with the paume de la main (palm of the hand), hence the name!

La Palme

The most famous palme is perhaps la Palme d’or (The Golden Palm) awarded each year to the top film at the Cannes Film Festival which some years is quite contested … though never quite as must as les pommes d’or (the golden apples) of Greek myth.


le jeu de Paume
La Palme d'or
Pom, pom, pom
La pomme d'or


About that title …

Pom, pom, pom is also an onomatopoeia3word that represents its own sound … like buzz or bang or boom that you’ll encounter in French music and culture.

Photo by Bruno Scramgnon from Pexels

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About the Author: Tim Hildreth

Lise: Maybe not always. Paris has ways of making people forget. / Jerry: Paris? No, not this city. It's too real and too beautiful. It never lets you forget anything. It reaches in and opens you wide, and you stay that way. / An American in Paris


  1. Rajkumar Sapient:

    Bien de comprendre!!!