French Language Blog

La Plume de Ma Tante (My Aunt’s Pen) Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Music, Vocabulary

For the now-graying baby boomer generation, the title of “la plume de ma tante” often evokes some fond and vivid early childhood memories; whereas for the progeny of the “Generation X” and above (Generation Y and Z), it most likely reminds them of a rather ghastly scene of le film d’horreur (horror movie) “l’Exorciste, which premiered in the movie theaters around the same time as the avènement (advent) in the world of their own generation!

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So what on Earth is “la Plume de Ma Tante“?

Well, the word “plume” means “feather”, which in French refers to a “pen” in general, or a “quill” in particular.


Une plume et une feuille (A quill and a paper)


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In fact, “la plume de ma tante“, as mysterious or plain random as it may sound, is nothing more than a musical!

It was written and directed by Robert Dhery, translated in English by Ross Parker, and set to music by Gérard Calvi, who is mostly known for his work in several Astérix et Obélix movies.

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“Obélix Samba”, by Gérard Calvi

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The duo cousins Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, known as “Hugo and Luigi” sing “La plume de ma tante” (“My Aunt’s Pen”)


*”La plume de ma tante” (“My Aunt’s Pen”):

La plume de ma tante

My aunt’s pen

Est sur le bureau de mon oncle

Is on the bureau of my uncle

Le papier de mon oncle

The paper of my uncle

Est sur le bureau de ma tante.

Is on the bureau of my aunt


* * *


The pen of my aunt

Is on the bureau of my uncle,

The paper of my uncle

Is on the bureau of my aunt.

If you don’t parlez vous franais

Then this will be Greek to you,

If you can’t figure out what the words are all about

Just sing la la la la loo

La la la La plume de ma tante

The pen of my aunt

Est sur le bureau de mon oncle,

Is on the bureau of my uncle

Le papier de mon oncle

The paper of my uncle

Est sur la bureau de ma tante

Is on the bureau of my aunt

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  1. readycarlos:

    When studying first year French in high school, I was taught this song to remember that articles in French can be masculine or feminine depending on the object they refer to. However, to this day I fail to see how a table is feminine and a bureau masculine. Oh well, c’est la vie.

  2. Peter or Pierre:

    Et vive la difference! La difference est magnifique et necessaire pour nous, n’est ce pas? Voila!

  3. outeast:

    It’s a much older reference than that: E Nesbit references it in (iirc, which I’m pretty sure I do; though it might have been the sequel) “Five Children and It”, published in 1902.

  4. Mari:

    Brings back memories first year Grammar School !! Singing this in our French class !!
    Now sing it to my half French grandchildren who are highly amused !!
    Indeed c’est la vie !!