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French Vocabulary – For the birds Posted by on Aug 4, 2020 in Language, Vocabulary

This week’s post is brought to you in part by my trip this weekend to la plage (the beach). In these times of social distancing1Dit la distanciation physique, distanciation sociale, ou éloignement sanitaire en français. a trip to the beach seemed like a relatively safe bet what with all the fresh air, sun, and space.

As I relaxed sur la sable (on the sand) I imagined the great post I could write about all the words for things you see à la plage … sadly I quickly discovered we’ve already covered the beach here on the Transparent Language French blog!

Quoi faire ?! (What to do ?!) Fortunately I wasn’t entirely out of luck, because one of the things I saw à la plage gave me another idea.

Here are a few more words to add to your vocabulaire de la plage: la marée / the tide; marée haute / high tide; marée basse / low tide; les vagues / the waves; le maître-nageur sauveteur/la maître-nageuse sauveteuse / the lifeguard2Apparently now known as « éducateur sportif des activités de la natation » / sports instructor for activities related to swimming !

Les noms des oiseaux

So left without any good beach vocabulary, this week we look at les oiseaux (birds). Starting with:

la mouette / gull, sea gull

la cigogne / stork

l’oie / goose

l’aigle / eagle

le colibri / hummingbird

le cygne / swan

l’hirondelle / swallow

le flamant rose / the pink flamingo

le rossignol3Rossignol is also the name of the famous French ski and sports equipment manufacturer. / nightingale

le corbeau / raven, crow4The proper term for crow is actually une corneille, but most French people will call them corbeau (even if that is really the word for raven).

le moineau / sparrow

le piaf / sparrow5While the correct term is moineau, the sparrow is also known as a piaf in common language. Piaf, is also, of course, the stage name of one of France’s greatest singers.

le perroquet / parrot

le paonpeacock

le hibou, la chouette6According to this article, while often assumed to be the male and female of the same species, les chouettes et les hiboux are actually different animals … though we call both of them owls in English. / owl

A la semaine prochaine!

Did you notice a few birds missing from the list above? I’ve saved a few for an upcoming post when we’ll look at the birds (and other animals) of la basse-cour.

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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


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