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Talking About Babies In French Posted by on Dec 5, 2018 in Vocabulary

After telling my family the embarrassing story of mispronouncing oncle (uncle), I may have accidentally given myself a knew nickname. Unfortunately for me, la langue française (the French language) was hiding even more baby problems!

Image from Pixabay. Licensed under CC0.

I’m un expert at learning the hard way that I don’t know how to say something. Whether it’s looking for l’interrupteur (the light switch) or trying to order un verre (a glass), I find new ways to say something incorrectly all the time.

When it comes to making mistakes, I find mispronouncing something harder to deal with than realizing I’m lacking vocabulary. After all, when un médecin (a doctor) explains something in English, I’m often lost in a sea of unknown vocabulary. L’idée (the idea) being that even in my native language it’s easy to lack the vocabulary to talk about certain subjects.

So when I realized I don’t really know how to talk about babies en français, I saw it as a chance to learn and improve my vocabulary. Because whether it’s Les comptines ou les tétines (nursery rhymes or pacifiers), there’s a whole world of baby words to learn.

Malheureusement (unfortunately), trying to bring up the subject with un ami (a friend) didn’t get very far:

Comment on parle des bébés ?
How do you talk about babies?

I ended up simply needing to take the time to learn new words if I was going to talk about ma petite soeur et son nouveau-née (my little sister and her newborn).

Le mot (the word) that caught my attention the most was one that I would have never guessed. The baby sounds, goo goo ga ga, aren’t usually thought about seriously, but the same sounds are said very differently en français:

Areu Areu
Goo goo ga ga

The differences in la prononciation française (French pronunciation) can start to be heard in les bébés (babies)! Areu Areu has all the difficult French sounds in it and can make les bébés français sound very French after only a few months.

After taking the time to learn le vocabulaire, I can now keep mes amis up to date on ma nouvelle nièce (my new niece) and the baby world she lives in. Her life should stay pretty simple for awhile, but I look forward to learning new words as she gets older.

Voici un vocabulaire des bébés :

Baby – Le bébé
Child – L’enfant
Newborn – Le nouveau-né, la nouveau-née
Goo goo ga ga – Areu Areu
Nursery Rhyme – La comptine
To Nurse – Allaiter
Breast Milk – Le lait maternel
Pacifier – La tétine, la sucette de bébé
Baby Bottle – Le biberon
Mobile – Le mobile
Diaper – La couche
Hiccup – Le hoquet
Burp – Le rot
To Throw Up – Rendre
To vomit – Vomir
Vomit – Le vomi
Thumb Sucking – La succion du puce
To Suck Your Thumb – Sucer son puce
Stroller – La poussette
Bib – Le bavoir
Crib – Le lit pour bébé, le lit de bébé

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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.