Basic French For Kids

Basic French words and phrases to teach kids.

Many parents want their kids to learn a foreign language. Teaching kids a second language when they're young helps them learn the new language, and be more capable later on. French is a good language to teach young children. Here are some good words and phrases to teach young kids:

Pronunciation: the "je" is the French "je" pronunciation when used as a pronunciation aid. It has no English equivalent sound. All t's are soft and un-emphasized, and are often left out of the pronunciation guide entirely. Many other ending consonants are the same way.

Colors: red=rouge (roo-je), orange=orange (oh-ran-je), yellow=jaune (je-awn), green=vert (var), blue=bleu (bl-oo), purple=violet (vee-o-lay), pink=rose (row-s), white=blanc (bl-an), black=noir (noo-ar).

Numbers: 1=un (uh), 2=deux (d-ough, like the "oo" from "look"), 3=trios (twa), 4=quatre (ka-tre), 5=cinq (say-n-k), 6=six (seese), 7=sept (set), 8=huit (weet), 9=neuf (noof), 10=dix (deese), 11=onze (ah-n-z), 12=douze (doo-z), 13=treize (tray-z), 14=quatorze (ka-tor-z), 15=quinze (kenz), 16=seize (says), 17=dix-sept (deese-set), 18=dix-huit (deese-weet), 19=dix-neuf (deese-noof), 20=vingt (vahnt), 21=vingt et un (vahnet A uh), 22=vingt-deux (vahnt-d-ough). The numbers continue, using "vingt" for each number in the "20" series, and adding the single numeral to it. All others are the same, like 30=trente (tr-ah-nt), 40=quarante (kar-ah-nt), 50=cinquante (say-n-kant), and etc.

Polite phrases: hello (good day) = bonjour (bone-je-or), good evening=bonsoir (bone-swa-r), please=s'il vous plait (seel-voo-play), thank you=merci (mare-see), excuse me=excuse moi (x-kyoos-eh-mwa), good night=bon nuit (bone noo-ee), good-bye=au revoir (O rev-wa-r), I'm sorry=je suis désolé(e) (je swee des-o-lay).

Body Parts: arms=bras (bra-s), legs=jambes (je-ahm-s), feet=pieds (pee-A-ds), head=la tête (la teh-t), mouth=la bouche (la boo-sh), ears=les orielles (lez or-ay), nose=le nez (le nay), eyes=les yeux (lez yuh), hair=le cheveux (le sh-voo).

Food: bread=le pain (le pahn), milk=le lait (le lay), banana=le banane (le ba-nahn), apple=le pomme (le pahm), juice=le jus (le je-oo), orange=orange (oh-ran-je), tomato=le tomate (le toe-maht), cheese=le fromage (le froh-ma-je), hot dog=le hot dog (le oht-dog), hamburger=le hamburger (le am-bur-ger), grilled ham and cheese sandwich=le croque-monsieur (le croak miss-yur), sandwich=le sandwich (le sand-weech), steak=le bifteck (le beef-teck), chicken=le poulet (le poo-lay), fish=le poisson (le pwa-sahn), salt=le sel (le cell), pepper=le poivre (le pwa-vre), rice=le riz (le ree).

Months of the year : January=janvier (jahn-vee-air), February=février (fev-ree-ay), March=mars (mah-rs), April=avril (ahv-reel), May=mai (may), June=juin (je-oo-in), July=juillet (je-oo-lee-ay), August=août, September=septembre (sept-em-bre), October=octobre (oc-toe-bre), November=novembre (no-vahm-bre), December=dee-sahm-bre).

Days of the week: Sunday=dimanche (dee-mah-sh), Monday=lundi (loon-dee), Tuesday=mardi (mahr-dee), Wednesday=mercredi (mare-cre-dee), Thursday=jeudi (je-oo-dee), Friday=vendredi (vahn-dred-ee), Saturday=samedi (sahm-dee).

Action verbs: I walk=je promenade (je prah-men-ahd), I go=je vais (je vay), I am=je suis (je swee), I do=je fais (je fay), I remember=je me souviens (je meh s-ooh-vee-ens), I sleep=je dormis (je door-mee-s), I want=je veux (je v-uh), I have=j'ai (je-ay), I dance=je danse (je dahn-s).

A note about the verbs: All of these are conjugated in the "I" form. The conjugation is different in French, so these words don't also work in the "you," "we," and "they" forms. However, explaining conjugation to young children is basically worthless, and most of what they say will be about what "I" do. In speech (though not in writing), most of these verbs can be used with "you" so that a young child may also speak about what "you" are doing. (In written form, most of these verbs simply get another "s" on the end, which doesn't change the pronunciation.)

Have fun learning French with your young one!

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