Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bonjour, bonjour ! Comment ça va ?

As a parent who only speaks French to my American children, I work as an unpaid teacher 24/7.  But I also have several private tutoring clients, parents who actually pay me to speak French to their children!  I really enjoy teaching French to these kiddos, but being with my own children reinforces that 30 or 60 minutes a week is not nearly enough for these other kids.  

Therefore, I'm starting to recommend videos that the kiddos can watch at home to reinforce what we cover during our private tutoring lessons.  Here are some fun videos to practice listening comprehension of words and phrases related to greeting people and asking how they're doing:

"Bonjour, Hello" by BASHO and Friends -- song with onscreen lyrics and lots of repetition of several ways to ask and answer "how are you" in French; designed for non-native speakers; no photos, videos, or other illustrations of what the words mean.

"Comment ça va" by Juli Powers -- an upbeat song for children that presents lots of options for responding to the question "How are you?", with photos illustrating each sentence and the lyrics in French at the bottom of the screen.

"French Greetings Song" by Natasha Morgan -- a gentle song with onscreen lyrics that appear as the singer writes and draws; features also common questions such as "what's your name" and "how old are you," plus numbers.  Each question or response is repeated three times in French and then the English equivalent is given.

Also from Natasha Morgan, here is her translation of "Two Little Birdies," this one with Fifi and Blanche, who greet each other, state their names, and then fly away.  Short and cute and clear!

"Bonjour" by Alain Le Lait, a short song with a rock and roll feel presenting several phrases in French worth memorizing: how are you, I'm happy to be here, thank you for coming.  A nice feature: the lyrics appear at the bottom of the screen (accompanied by happy, headless, dancing Gumbies) at the beginning but not when the verses are repeated.  Good for listening comprehension!

"Bonjour" by Louis and Josée of Mini TFO (a show for children on Canadian television), a short song featuring real live people who invite the watchers and other children to join them at the playground; no onscreen lyrics.

"Bonjour" from the Disney film "La Belle et la Bête" -- this is the opening song where Belle walks through her village greeting the other residents.  Sung in French; no lyrics onscreen, but you can read the transcription of the song and the dialogue interspersed here.

"Bonjour, bonjour" is a fast, catchy song by L'autobus à vapeur, a group that does songs in French for children (native speakers).  This video is a version sung by a children's choir, accompanied by a cute cartoon and onscreen lyrics.  (You can hear the original song here, no lyrics or video.)

Which one(s) do you and your kiddos like best and why?  Recommendations for other songs about French greetings?


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  2. Oh there are a lot of great videos for kids here. My son love them so much!

  3. Thank you! I am a half French mom in Oregon, who very much wants my kids to learn French (and to retain my own).... So this is wonderful! I keep trying to assign one day a week where we speak only French, but we never stick to it. Perhaps two mealtimes a week. In any event, merci beaucoup!

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