Little Language: How French Children Speak

Bonjour !

French people start to talk after around one or two years after they’re born. Surprisingly, we don’t immediately write existentialist treaties; we start with childish words and grammar.

So how can you talk to French children?
What are their special speaking quirks?
Do they really just talk like drunk adults?

Allô Maman Bobo (Alain Souchon)

Et toi ?

Did you know any of these words already?

Which are your favorites childish words in your own language?

What is for you the most magic word of all?

Bonne journée,


Join the conversation!

  • Beaucoup de jeunes enfants chez-nous au Canada vont appeler une montre “un tic-toc” ou “un tic-tic”. Mais nous avons dit assez souvent à ma nièce “écoute, écoute” qu’elle a commencer a appeler une montre “une coute-coute”.

  • La langue des enfants, c’est une vidéo bien amusante. Elle m’a fait sourire. J’aime les mots de syllabes répétés – très intéressants – et intelligents. Maintenant c’est l’heure de mon dodo!

  • Coucou Geraldine!

    Ta vidéo, c’est trop bon! C’était une bouffée d’air frais et super rafraîchissant 🙂

    Je me rappelle que mon mot préféré c’était le toutou (tt comme ds la chanson de 1967 de France Gall 🙂 ainsi que papi et mami pour mes grand-parents français 🙂

  • J’aime «Métro – boulo – dodo» pour le train-train de tous les jours.

    Une de mes connaissances, en parlant à son chien (ou plus exactement, sa chienne), l’appelait «fi-fille» = girlie.

    • That would explain why “Fifi” was a common name for (female) French Poodles (in the U.S., at least). Merci pour la réponse à une question que j’avais depuis longtemps !

  • I agree with you, John. I think adults should avoid using baby talk in order to sound cute. Children are cute trying to get it right, but if you speak like an adult, they will learn fast.
    Géraldine is cute though, speaking like an adult. 🙂

    • Absolutely .. adults who do this ga ga goo goo talk to babies do
      them no good at all ~ they should hand them a beer and start
      discussing football as soon as possible !
      But what is this you tell me that Géraldine is cute ? How come
      I hadn’t noticed this ?? Perhaps there is something wrong with
      my glasses, or maybe I’m more ga ga than I’d actually realised !!
      I’m obviously not paying enough attention to what’s really important 😀

      Cheers Peter, it’s nice to see your comments 🙂

  • Small Infants are such instinctive learners with their wide eyed curiosity;
    I’ve never understood parents who can’t be bothered to explain things to
    their children. Their attempts at the words of their new language is surely
    an invitation to help them get it right. And I like Corina’s story about l’amie
    de maman = Mimi … yes, it’s fascinating.
    A nice lesson Géraldine ~ merci 🙂

  • Salut Geraldine
    I have heard English children say “that’ll learn you” but it’s not good grammar. I think you meant “teach” I liker allez dodo, I say it when the grandchildren are here! 🙂

    • That’s very cute. Indeed, some words are hard to understand, but I’m always amazed at how fast children learn language.

  • On one trip to France, my friend’s 2 year old kept calling me Mimi. My name is Corina. Flo, the mom, and I couldn’t figure out how baby Charlotte got Mimi from Corina… then it hit us… “l’amie de Maman vient” was how she prepped her for my arrival=Mimi. Baby talk is fascinating.

    • Quand ma fille était petite, elle avait un dou-dou (une couverture blanche) qui s’appelait “Mimi”. (On en a eu deux, parce que qu’elle était blanche…). I often wondered if it was her way of saying “This is mine.”, i.e. “Me! Me!” or if she thought of it as an extension of herself. Maybe she was calling it her friend all the time… 🙂

  • Bonjour et merci beaucoup Geraldine! Un bon video. J’apprécie apprendre la diférence entre les deux bobos et l’imparfait des enfants. En anglais ma soeur et mois ont dit “boopee” au lieu de caca. Je ne sais pas pourquoi?

  • Once, when I told my 2-year-old “Je n’ai pas entendu le mot magique…”, he made me laugh as he answered “Magique” 😉

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