Bourdonner: to hum or buzz in French + The sound of wheat
Doggy Bag - How to say "doggy bag" in French? + Happy Anniversary!

Woof woof! Bow wow! Aboiement (or how to say dog bark or barking in French)

comptoir at Le Bar de la Marine in Marseille France Vieux Port  (c) Kristin Espinasse
Nothing to do with today's word, just an iconic zinc bar in Marseilles: Le Bar de la Marine (made famous by Marcel Pagnol in his "Marius" Trilogy.

un aboiement (ah-bwa-mahn)

    : bark, barking (of dog)

Also: aboyer = to bark, un aboyeur (une aboyeuse) = a barking dog

Reverse dictionary: 
to bark up the wrong tree = porter plainte contre la mauvaise personne
his bark is worse than his bite = il fait plus de bruit que de mal 

Audio File: Today it is 17-year-old Max's voice you'll hear when you click on the following file and listen to this French sentence: Download MP3 or Wav file

Les aboiements de Smokey font peur aux bandits! Smokey's barking scares the bandits!

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

This morning I hurried downstairs to let out our dogs. I wasn't going to make the same mistake as yesterday by enjoying a rare grasse matinée. That extra thirty minutes sleep-in cost me a demi-heure of clean-up time after I was late helping Smokey get to his morning business. Quel dégât!

This time there were no suspicious odors wafting up the stairwell, and I reached le rez-de-chaussée to find the floors clear and dry. Ouf! The week was off to a good start!

"Good morning, doggers!" I offered my warm English greeting quickly followed by some serious French, "Allez les Toutous! Pipi dehors!"

Sliding open the porte-fenêtre in our kitchen, I was amused by the morning routine. Braise paused at the door, letting her son race past her. As Braise waited her turn she looked up at me, anticipating the usual acknowledgment.

"C'est bien, Braise! Très, très bien! Tu attends." I caressed her soft head and rubbed her floppy golden ears between my fingers. She is a sweet dog, if extremely pushy at times (mostly at snack time).

Comme d'habitude, Braise and I turned our attention to Smokey, who had bounded out of the house as fast as a cowboy surprised by bandits. Shooting from the hip—or all guns blazing—Smokey charged forward, propelled by a noisy gargle of aboiements:


Smokey's head shot in every direction, pulled this way and that by his flapping, toothy muzzle—out of which came the skinny dog's tirade of threats. The scene would be hair-raising if seen by any other perspective than our own.

Braise and I watched, unwilling to point out to our voluntary hero the obvious facts: there was, as usual, not a bandit in sight—not even a lowly field mouse sped by.  

Never mind. When Smokey reached the edge of the yellow, parched lawn—fitting of this wild west scene—he began pacing back and forth, coughing out a few more threats in his best impression of gardien. Down below, where the lawn drops off and the grape vines spread out in one great field of spectateurs, Smokey addressed his leafy audience. "I," he barked, "AM Top Dog!"

Braise and I looked at each other knowing very well the truth of the matter: though Smokey is top dog of our hearts, he could not hurt a top fly.

Meantime, he doesn't need to know that... 

"You tell 'em, Smokey! You tell 'em!" in the safety of Smokey's noisy wake, Braise and I cheer the underdog.  Handicapped since the tender age of two months old (his hanging tongue but a hint of les ravages he suffered) he has come a long way since that fateful day, when he crossed paths with a couple of lost and angry dogs who mistook him for an easy target....

What the aggressors failed to notice was the Top Mama nearby.

Braise saved her son that day. After being stapled back together and given a "good chance" of making it. Smokey did. Il a survécu


Read the story of a brave two month old golden retreiver, here.


la grasse matinée
to sleep in

une demi-heure
half an hour

quel dégât
what a mess

le rez-de-chaussée
ground floor


Allez les Toutous! Pipi dehors
Come on, dogs! Pee pee outside!

la porte-fenêtre
glass door 

C'est bien, Braise! Très, très bien! Tu attends.
That's good, Braise. Really, really good! You're waiting. 

comme d'habitude, or simply comme d'hab
as usual 

un aboiement

woof-woof, bow-wow 

le gardien, la gardienne
keeper, watchman(woman) 

les ravages (m)

le spectateur, la spectatrice
onlooker, witness, audience 

il a survécu
he survived 

You've come a long way, Baby. Smokey eventually healed on the outside. On the inside he seems to have gained back his confidence, as evidenced by his morning patrol.


Since Smokey's frightening attack, Mother and Son regularly practice Self Defense for Dogs.

Braise: Son, mind your ears! You look more like the Flying Nun than Rambo!

Smokey: OK Mom, just trying to look scary. By the way, who is the Flying Nun?


It takes many tender moments to rehabilitate a victim, especially a victimized animal.

Smokey, left, says: "I can protect you, too, Mom."

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety