Doudou, nounours, un grand dodo

Doudou, nounours, un grand dodo

doo-doo, noo-noorss, uh grah do-DO. Click below to hear this.

Blankie, teddy, a long nap.

All the necessities of life–for a toddler!

Baby talk in French, as in English, is characterized by repeated syllables: un ours (en peluche) becomes un nounours, for example. You may wonder where the n at the beginning of the baby word comes from. What a child hears is in fact /noorss/, because of the elision: un ours, ton ours, mon ours (a bear, your bear, my bear). Nothing to do with nurses, by the way.

Un doudou is a “blankie”, not from dormir as I have seen it suggested, but from the adjective doux, meaning soft. Nothing to do with bodily functions…. Those words are le pipi and le caca.

The word for sleep or nap is le dodo, which does come from dormir, and which has nothing to do with extinct birds.

Le lolo is le lait, or milk. (Note that les lolos can also mean breasts, for obvious resons.) Un bobo is a booboo, and who knows where that one comes from? Les joujoux are toys, from les jouets.

There’s plenty more, but that should keep you busy for a little while! Go practice on someone else’s baby, if you haven’t got one of your own!


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