Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Wise Old Owl That Can Only Speak French

For a while now I have been wanting to give Poppette a soft toy that could only speak French. I have been on the lookout for the perfect one.

Yesterday I found him in the guise of Monsieur L'Hibou (Mr Owl). He's totally adorable and thankfully Poppette seems quite taken with him (I would run out of fingers if I tried to count how many times I have bought her what I think is the cutest soft toy on the planet only for her to pick up an empty Evian bottle and play with that instead!).

So, the plan is that, as Poppette grows and interacts more with her toys, she will (hopefully) always interact with Monsieur L'Hibou en français. For now, I will start to bring that alive for her by singing Dans La Forêt Prochaine with her whenever we play with him. It's a really cute song, whose lyrics are as follows:-

Dans la forêt prochaine,
On entend le coucou.

Du haut de son vieux chêne,
Il répond au hibou.

Coucou hibou, coucou hibou,
Coucou hibou, coucou.

A rough but not nearly as poetic translation would be:-

'In the nearby forest you can hear the cuckoo sing.
From high up in the old oak tree he is responding to the call of the owl.
"Hi there Owl", "hi there Owl", "hi there Owl", "hi".'

This version on YouTube is slightly different to the one on Poppette's nursery rhyme album (Toutes Mes Chansons Préférées) but the tune is the same.

I have also been thinking of creating un coin français which was suggested to me by another area in our apartment where only French can be spoken.... even by Papa or friends and family. . . . I think that could be really good fun for everyone.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Our Budding Bilingual Baby Says Her First Word

Sunday was an exciting day ... it marked seven months since Poppette was born. I have to pinch myself sometimes ... I can't believe she has already been with us this long. Practically every day sees her learn a new skill... rolling, picking up with her pincer grip (most notably grabbing my eyelashes one day between her finger and thumb as I leaned over her crib!) and then on Sunday came her very first word.


Hmmm. Well this is an interesting one. As I understand it, from a linguistic point of view this is one of the easier sounds to master and very often a baby's first sound. I do wonder though whether this holds true world over or just with Anglophone children. If anyone knows, please do drop me a line.

Now Poppette definately hears the words Papa and Daddy more than Maman and Mummy simply because whilst Papa is away on business mid-week I talk about him lots and we skype every night... and, as I switch on the computer to Skype, I always say ''Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy''...... I'm not sure why, since the rest of the time I definately refer to him as Papa.

Anyhow... this is not a competition, right? I am more intruiged by the linguistics behind this chosen word/ sound and whether Poppette's next one will be Francophone in nature - bearing in mind she definately hears more French than English right now.

If anyone has any information or experience on what sounds Francophone children tend to commence their speech with (or indeed any other nationality), I would be really really interested to hear from you.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Au Dodo Poppette

Despite always thinking that we would be one of those families that didn't pay too much attention to routines, now that Poppette is almost seven months old (boy how time flies), we have come around to the realisation that we could all do with a little more sleep in this house and that perhaps a routine might just be the way forward!

Common wisdom has it that babies thrive on routine and that the constant repetition of actions in the same order each night before bed might just make a baby catch on to the fact that they are supposed to go to sleep at the end....

Apparently, until the routine is etched into your baby's head, you should also make sure you read them the same story each night. For this part of our routine we have a great book which I can't recommend enough. It's called Au Dodo Les Animaux [C'mon animals it's time for bed ] and is a soft cloth book with a furry cover. The book is entirely in black and white and has pages which crinkle and little flaps on each page for your baby to lift up.

The story basically takes you through a young child's bedtime routine with each animal doing a particular activity e.g. getting undressed, putting on pyjamas, brushing their teeth, having a glass of water, having a story etc Each page has a short sentence on it which rhymes e.g. "Petit éléphant se brosse bien les dents" [Little elephant gives his teeth a good clean].

Poppette really seems to enjoy this story (or at least crinkling and chewing the pages) which ends with all the animals in one big bed and the line "Au dodo les animaux" and of course we always add "Au dodo Poppette".

She seems to be catching on - touch wood.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Le Langage Enfantin Revisited

Having posted a link earlier in the week to a web page featuring 'le langage enfantin', I decided it might be helpful if I put together a list of all the words I had come accross over recent months. So I have created a page which you can access by the tab at the top of my blog.

I will keep adding to it over time.

As always, if anyone has any suggested additions or amendments, please do let me know either by posting a comment or emailing me at

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Le Langage Enfantin en Français

Since beginning to speak French with Poppette I have been making a huge effort to increase my knowledge of child orientated vocabulary. It's not always that easy to find. Mostly I pick it up from children's story books and by asking French friends.

Sometimes I just drop lucky when searching online. Today was one of those days. I found this page of words used by french children on

I have noticed that someone has created a Spanish guide (downloadable from the Internet) to children's language for English speakers wishing to teach Spanish to their children. If only someone would do the same in French. I would be first in the queue to buy it!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism

April's Blogging Carnival is now out.

This is the first time I have contributed an article and I am really excited to have done so.

As always, there are loads of interesting stories and perspectives to muse over. If you're interested, click here.