button for Wondrous Words Wednesday memeWondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”

Today’s word is French. A French word seems appropriate on the day before Bastille Day and it’s a word that I sang hundreds of times as a child but don’t recall that I ever knew its meaning.

The quote, with the definition of alouettes, is from My Life in France by Julia Child, page 113:

Game birds are especially popular in autumn. You see gaggles of pheasants and grouse, woodcocks with their long thin bills, partridges, and wild duck in the marketplace of every village, hamlet, and town. It seems the French will eat almost any feathered flying creature, from thrushes to swallows to blackbirds and larks (called alouettes, as in the song “Alouette, Gentille Alouette”); on several occasions we ate a tiny but delicious avian called un vanneau, or lapwing.

Wikipedia translates the Alouette song into English. It’s all about plucking the bird, presumably for eating. Apparently, it is used as a children’s action song to teach the words for the body parts similar to “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.” In the U.S., I suspect we’re too squeamish to use food animals for that purpose.

See today’s Wondrous Words Wednesday post for more new words.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll


Wondrous Words Wednesday — 11 Comments

  1. Yes, we sing it in French to teach the different parts of bird’body… but for pleasure too : children like it because while singing we show these different parts and act like birds !

  2. Hi Joy,

    I have a basic grounding in the French language and have, of course, sung this song many times.

    I had no comprehension of the meaning of the word Alouette, or the rather maudlin meaning of the song. I don’t really know what I thought it meant, but obviously something much more friendly and kindly, as I am left feeling rather saddened after reading your post!

    Thank you so much for a really interesting, informative post.

  3. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | Joy's Book Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *