toutou (too-too) noun, masculine
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE ... by Kristin Espinasse
I can tell you first-hand that, apart from tourists, the French town of Sarrians caters to rug rats, thieves, and cats.
Rug rats--rather "rug rat-ease"--being our topic for today, we'll skip the cat caper... though it is tempting to paint the scene: that of one "sticky-fingered" foreigner being chased by a minou* and a Maghrébine.
"I told you that kitty wasn't lost," Jean-Marc said, as we rounded a bend and slipped in to the Tourist office, unseen by the Maghrébine. I couldn't help it if that woman's cat was following me... admittedly after all the sweet talk disguised as soliloquy. (For the record, I did not steal the cat.)
Inching our way out of the tourist office, the coast now being clear, I saw the following hand-written sign posted against the municipal door: "Bar à Toutous". Beside the delightful sign, a couple of thirst-quenching quarts of water were thoughtfully set out for the town toutous... which brings us back to today's topic: "Rugrat-ease".
Inspired by the French signage (specifically the wee word "toutou"), I offer you a glossary of French kiddy talk or "langage enfantin": Please feel free to add to this list, using the comments box just below... and thanks in advance!
AUDIO FILE: You can now listen to our son, Max, pronounce the entire list, below:
Download MP3 or Wav file
Petit Lexique de Langage Enfantin / Glossary of Baby Talk
areu ("areu areu") = goo-goo: faire areu areu = to gurgle
le bibi (biberon) = baba (bottle)
le bidou = tummy
le bobo = boo-boo (minor injury) le coco (coquille) = egg
le coin-coin = quack-quack (duck)
cui-cui = tweet-tweetfaire cui-cui = to go tweet-tweet
le dada = horsey (horse)
le dodo (dormir) = beddie-bye (sleep)
le doudou = blankie (blanket, or other security object)
glouglou = gobble-gobble
hop-là! = upsy-daisy! (small accident)
le joujou (jouet) = toy
le kiki (quéquette) = wee-wee (penis)
le lolo (lait) = milk (also means "boob")
la mama (maman) = mama
la mémé (grandmère) = nana (grandma)
la menotte = little hand
le minou (minet) = cat
le nanan = yummies, sweets, num-nums
le ninin (ninnin) = security object (stuffed animal)
la nounou (la nourrice) = child-minder
le nounours (ours en peluche) = teddy bear
le papa (père) = daddy
le pépé (grand-père) = grandpa
le pipi = wee-wee
le popo (caca) = poo-poo, doo-doo
une quenotte = tooth
une risette = a little smile
(faire une risette à la gentille dame) = smile for the nice lady
le sent-bon = perfume
la tantine = auntie
la tata (tante) = aunt
le tonton = uncle
le toutou = dog
le zizi = wee-wee
When we had all 7 golden retrievers (we now have just Mama Breizh and her son, Smokey). Oh, how the puppies loved baby talk!
A Message from Kristi on this blog's 19th anniversary
Thank you for reading this language journal. In 2002 I left my job at a vineyard and became self-employed in France. "French Word-A-Day" has been my full-time occupation ever since. Ongoing support from readers like you helps keep this site ad-free and allows me to focus on writing. My wish is to continue creating posts that are educational, insightful, and heart-warming. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider supporting it via a blog donation.
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