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Teach Greetings in French

Bonjour! Welcome to the second lesson in our French for Kids series, Greetings in French where you will learn the French Greetings and how and when to use them. You will also find some fantastic printable materials to use at home and practice.

I am Felicity, creator of Mini Languages and I am pleased to be collaborating with Bilingual Kidspot to bring you a series of easy, effective ‘lessons’ to use with your child to learn the foundations of French.

Hopefully you have checked out Lesson 1 which focused on numbers and counting in French. You can continue to work on what you learned in previous lessons whilst moving onto the new material in Lesson 2. Remember,you can make a lot of progress in a new language by incorporating it into your daily routine.

The Mini Languages ethos is about taking small steps and, importantly, having fun! Keep it up!

All about me!

Today’s lesson on learning the French Greetings will focus on social interactions including;

  • greetings
  • introducing yourself
  • describing your appearance

I love this topic as, not only is it genuinely useful for when you meet new people, it is important for children to see how a new language relates to them and their surroundings.

Greetings in French

We meet people every day so learning how to say hello and goodbye is essential! There are also cultural aspects to greetings which are interesting to explore with your child as part of their awareness of the wider world.

Greetings in French Printable

PRINT THIS POSTER HERE

Saying hello

There are a few ways to say hello in French:

  • Bonjour – Hello. Formal and informal. Acceptable in all situations.
  • Salut – Hi. Informal and mostly between friends.
  • Coucou – Hiya. Very informal. Between friends only or to greet young children.
  • Bonsoir – Good evening. Specific to very late in the day.

Saying goodbye

We have fewer options available to us for saying goodbye. Although Salut and Bonsoir can be used (Salut: friends only. Bonsoir: evening and more formal). For our purposes let’s stick with:

  • Au revoir – For all situations!

Monsieur & Madame

Formality is important in the French language, so we use the equivalents of Sir and Madam much more frequently. I always teach this in class so that children can structure a nice, polite greeting when, for example, entering a shop or restaurant in France. We practice it by cutting out magazines and making collages of men and woman.

  • Bonjour Monsieur!
  • Bonjour Madame!

Asking how someone is

In French, before asking ‘How are you?’ we need to consider who we are talking to and how many people we are addressing. For our purposes, when conversing with your child the best option is:

  • Comment ça va? Or just Ça va? *

* Pronunciation Guide: When a c has a cedilla – the funny squiggle underneath – the c is pronounced s. Sa va?)

When speaking to someone we do not know well, or to a group of people, you would use vous. So, for children speaking to a non-family adult or teacher:

  • Comment allez-vous? *

*Pronunciation Guide: Remember the liaison between comment and allez. This means pronouncing the otherwise unpronounced t because the next word starts with a vowel. Com-auhn-tallay-vouh?

I am good, thanks. And you?

A standard reply to the above question (to help children understand you can do a big thumbs-up):

  • Ça va bien, merci!

And, depending on how the question was asked and who the person is, follow it up with:

  • Et toi? Or Et vous?

Cultural knowledge: The importance of ‘la bise’

‘Faire la bise’ refers to the custom of greeting with a peck on both cheeks when greeting a friend, family member or close acquaintance (regional differences exist). In our parent and child classes we start by blowing a kiss to everyone in the class.

  • bisou – kiss

Learning Greetings in French with babies and toddlers (incudes free MP3 & Dual language song-words)

Start building the phrases we have learned so far this lesson, into your routine.

Ideas of how to do this naturally:

  • Learn a rhyme with this free Mini French® download: One of my favourites to use with toddlers and pre-schoolers but it is also good for older children. Use actions to bring it to life. Deux Petits Oiseaux MP3 & Song Sheet with words English & French
  • Greet your child in French in the morning! “Bonjour! Ça va?”
  • Play peek-a-boo: hide behind your hands then say “Coucou!”
  • Asking people in the family “Ça va?” Encouraging them to reply “Ça va bien merci!” so that your child can see an interaction.
  • Puppets: next time you are playing, act out a scene with teddies. “Bonjour monsieur! Comment allez-vous? Ça va bien, Madame. Et vous?”
  • Bisou: How many times can I kiss you? Play a game where you kiss your child and say ‘Bisou’! (Pronounce: Biz-ouh)

Find more Songs in French for Kids here

How to introduce yourself in French

For the following phrases we will use tu which is most relevant to younger children as that is how they speak to their parents and with other children.

If you read the Starter Kit section of this series, you will remember that one way to ask a question in French is to invert the verb and the subject pronoun adding in a hyphen. You can also check back to Lesson 1 to refresh your memory on numbers:

  • Comment t’appelles-tu? – What are you called?
  • Je m’appelle {name} – I am called {name}
  • Quel âge as-tu? – What age are you
  • J’ai {number} ans – I am {number}

Top tip: In French, for our age, we say “I have {number} years” NOT “I am {number} years old”

How to describe yourself in French

Children like talking about things that are familiar to them! Get a mirror and talk about their eyes and hair. Then complete the Mini French® activity sheet which I am sharing with you for free from my online platform HERE.

Free activity sheet from the Mini Languages platform

  • J’ai les yeux {marrons/ verts/ bleus} – I have {brown/ green/ blue} eyes
  • J’ai les cheveux {bruns/ blonds/ roux/ noir} – I have {brown/ bond/ red/ blackr} hair

Top tip: By learning these phrases, we are not only teaching our child about how to describe their appearance but, also, key grammar points regarding correct sentence structure:

  1. We have put in les whereas in English you would not find the. i.e. I have THE blue eyes
  2. We have put the colour after the noun i.e. eyes blue
  3. The colour adjective matches the noun in gender and number. We have added an S to blue i.e. bleuS

Grammar is important aspect of language. At a young age I believe in teaching grammar through using the language but if you have a curious child point our interesting aspects and differences between your home language and French.

Brushing up on your own grammar can assist you in supporting your child. There is a full grammar course (Grammar Boosts) for parents on the Mini Languages platform to boost your French understanding.

Other ideas for children aged 5+

Once you have a budding, little linguist, you can add in some games and deepen the knowledge:

  • Play ‘Guess Who?’ (Qui est-ce?) in French:
    (Est-ce qu’) il/ elle a les yeux/ les cheveux {colour}?
    (Est-ce qu’) il/ elle a les cheveux {courts/ longs}? – (short/ long)
    (Est-ce qu’) il/ elle a des lunettes?
    Oui/ Non
    Etc
  • Mr Potato Head: Change his eyes, hair etc. Make him speak! We will look at the vocabulary for body parts in a future BilingualKidspot lesson.

French Greetings

I hope you have enjoyed this set of activities for Lesson 2: Greetings in French, and that you are inspired to build small amounts of French into your daily routine. By starting with small steps, the learning is manageable and fun making the whole experience enjoyable for you and your child.

Looking forward to our next lesson?

À bientôt! See you soon!

Felicity

French for Kids - Greetings and Introductions in French