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French Vocabulary – The Senses, An Update Posted by on Jan 23, 2018 in Grammar, Vocabulary

A few years ago, the team at Transparent Language published a blog post with the key vocabulary related to the senses. It seemed like a good time to revisit that topic and spice it up with some multimedia! This week we’ll look at (and listen to!) les cinq sens (the five senses).

Once again I’ve hidden the English translations by making the font white. Use your mouse to select the text to see the translations.

Les cinq sens

Les êtres humains (human beings) have five senses. Les cinq sens sont (The five senses are):

La vue (vision/sight)

The French word for to see is the verb voire. The French word for to look at/to watch is the verb regarder.

On* regarde et on voit avec les** yeux***. [You look (or watch) and see with your eyes.]


L’ouïe (hearing)

The French word for to hear is the verb entendre. The French word for to listen is the verb écouter.

On écoute et on entend avec les oreilles. [You listen and hear with your ears.]


L’odorat (smell)

The French word for to smell is the verb sentir. [Another useful verb is renifler / to sniff.]

On sent avec le nez. [You smell with your nose.]


Le goût (taste)

The French word for to taste is the verb goûter.

On goûte avec la bouche (et la langue). [You taste with your mouth (and your tongue).]


Le toucher (touch)

Hands holding the hand of a younger

The French word for to touch is the verb toucher. The French word for to feel is the verb sentir****.

On touche avec les doigts et les mains. On sent avec les doigts et les mains aussi. [You touch with your fingers and hands. You feel with your fingers and hands too.]

Pour finir

The chorus to this clip (video) from the mid 90’s should help you practice some of your new vocabulary.

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* You can review the proper use of the indefinite French pronoun on here.
** Remember that when talking about body parts in French you generally use the definite article and not a possesive pronoun like you would in English.
*** The singular form of yeux is œil. Un œil, deux yeux. / One eye, two eyes.

**** Watch out because sentir is used for both to feel and to smell. Also, like in English, sentir / to feel can be used for both physical and emotional feelings. Make sure you pay attention to context when you come across this word so that you are sure your understanding the right version.


Image Credits:
This weeks images come from, a great source of royalty free, open source images.

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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