February 18th, 2017
I’m always trying to improve my French. One way is by watching French movies, ideally with French subtitles to help comprehension. Then you’re not always translating in your head by reading subtitles in your own language. Yesterday I discovered that Netflix added subtitles in different languages to some foreign movies and shows. I was able […]
December 12th, 2016
Mama Lisa’s World has an extensive collection of Christmas Carols from Around the World. For each song we provide the original language lyrics, with an English translation. Most have recordings, YouTubes and sheet music. You can also check out our Christmas Carols with French Translations (Chansons de Noël). And Christmas Carols with Spanish Translations (Canciones […]
November 22nd, 2016
Certain sounds are difficult to pronounce in French. The vowel combination "ui" can be a tricky one for English speakers. To pronounce "ui", you should pucker your mouth like you’re going to say "u" but quickly say "we" instead. Monique from France has recorded some words with the "ui" combination for us. You can listen […]
November 15th, 2016
Monique from France recorded a few words for us in French that are difficult to pronounce. You can find the words below with their meanings followed by a recording. 1. Bouilloire – Kettle 2. Accueillir – To welcome or greet 3. Serrurerie – Ironwork 4. Verrerie – Glasswork 5. Cueillir – To gather, pick or […]
June 8th, 2016
Home Language has some great videos for intermediate to advanced students to help you improve your French. Patricia from the site Parlez-vous Français covers tricky aspects of the French language such as when to use the subjunctive tense, which idiomatic expressions are widely used, when to use en versus y. The list goes on… As […]
March 21st, 2016
Monique Palomares wrote from France about a game she and her friends played when they were younger… When we were children we would play "le jeu du bac" – also called "le petit bac". FYI Bac means baccalaureat, which is an academic qualification French students take at the end of high school. It’s the main […]
February 12th, 2016
The French poem, "Ceux qui sont amoureux" was written by French poet Joachim du Bellay (1522 – 1560). You can listen to the poem below and read along with the original text, followed by an English translation… MP3 of Ceux qui sont amoureux Ceux qui sont amoureux Ceux qui sont amoureux, leurs amours chanteront, Ceux […]
February 9th, 2016
Megan wrote asking for help with a rhyme about a cat that’s in English and French. Here’s her letter… Hi Lisa, I’m trying to find an older nursery rhyme that I can’t seem to find. The song would go: Little black cat, little black, cat look at my pretty little baby. Get away cat, get […]
January 21st, 2016
"John Doe" is a way to speak about an anonymous person. Sometimes it refers to the average guy on the street, sometimes to an unidentified body that’s been found. In French, there are different ways to say "John Doe" depending on the circumstance. Check them out below… Monsieur/Madame Tout-le-monde (literally, Mr./Mrs. Everybody) is the equivalent […]
January 13th, 2016
Gweta is a modern dance style in Africa. Toofan, the group that sang the Gweta song originally, made up the dance itself and the name of the dance. Eli wrote about it below… "The whole concept is called "gweta soeme" which is equivalent to dodging jealous people. Gweta is a village in Botswana so I […]
December 20th, 2015
Edith Piaf was born 100 years ago today. She’s regarded as France’s National chanteuse (singer). Here’s her most well-known song, La vie en rose for your listening pleasure…
December 1st, 2015
It’s December 1st! The Countdown to Christmas begins! Every day from now until Christmas we’ll highlight our favorite Christmas carols, recipes and traditions from around the world. Today, we’d like to point out our new Christmas Carol hub. It features over 150 Christmas Carols, Rhymes and Nativity Plays from around the world. Each piece includes […]
November 30th, 2015
There are many old cylinder recordings you can listen to online. Some are100 years old, so the quality varies. Check out these sites: UC Santa Barbara Library (Over 10,000 recordings – You can search by song type, language and subject.) Les pages de l’Archéophone (in French and English – click on appropriate flag for the […]
November 27th, 2015
Monique wrote from France about sayings related to days of the week. Here’s her email: Are there any idioms in English about the days of the week? In French, when we put a button in the wrong buttonhole, we call that "Boutonner lundi avec mardi." (Buttoning Monday with Tuesday.) We also have the proverb, "Qui […]
November 22nd, 2015
There are many proverbs around the world about eating well. There are other proverbs about making sure you eat when you have the chance. For example, I grew up with the saying, "Eat your food! People are starving in China." Monique sent some French and Spanish proverbs about eating when you can. She wrote… "About […]
November 3rd, 2015
The saying, "Cross my heart" (sometimes followed by "hope to die") is a way children swear that what they say or promise is completely true and sincere. When I was a child, growing up in New York, we said… Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. While you say […]
October 29th, 2015
It’s always nice to celebrate the season with a poem. Here’s a French piece about Autumn by Théodore de Banville (1823 – 1891). You can read it below, while listening along with the recording, followed by an English translation… MP3 of L’Automne L’Automne Sois le bienvenu, rouge Automne, Accours dans ton riche appareil, Embrase le […]
September 24th, 2015
The Happy Birthday to You song was taken out of copyright on Tuesday! This is particularly great because people all over the world sing the song in both English and their own languages. When I studied in France, the couple I lived with sang the Happy Birthday song in English at birthday celebrations. I asked […]
August 11th, 2015
Gâteau d’omelettes (Omelet Cake) is a French dish made for brunch, picnics and buffets. It comprises of layers of thin omelets, alternated with ratatouille and tapenade. We present here a recipe shared by Monique from France. We separated out the recipes for Ratatouille and Tapenade and then explained how to assemble the gateau. Regarding the […]
July 16th, 2015
It’s always fun to read fables. They make you think of an earlier, simpler time. We think of fables as being for young children. However, a French teacher I recently spoke with told me that in France today, Jean de La Fontaine’s fables are mostly read by high school students. That’s because the language is […]
July 10th, 2015
We like to post seasonal poetry from around the world. Now that summer’s here we’d like to share this French poem about summer that will heat you up! Below you’ll find the original French text to the poem Chaleur (Heat) by Anna de Noailles with a recording and an English translation. MP3 Recording of the […]
June 4th, 2015
Playing real video games for fun is a great way to improve your foreign language skills. I’m talking about games you’d want to play in your own language, not specifically language learning games. There are many fun games that are available in many different languages. I’m an early advanced French learner, so I understand enough […]
June 3rd, 2015
Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world. They have a simple formula. In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door. The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words. Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
May 29th, 2015
Flashcards are a good way to pick up new vocabulary in a foreign language. It’s good to use them as a supplement to other resources, because if you only use flashcards, you’ll get bored very quickly! There are three flashcard apps I’ve been using over the past couple of months to help expand my French […]
April 14th, 2015
Watch Darth Vader say, "I am your father" to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie in 20 different languages (as dubbed in the movies). You can see a list of the languages with their voice actors below the video. Languages and Voice Actors: English (Original) – James Earl Jones Spanish (1980) – Isidro Olace […]
April 2nd, 2015
Are you a fan of tongue twisters? Here’s a well-known French one that is also an example of "trompe-oreilles": Tonton, le thé de ta tatie t’a-t-il oté ta toux ? -Oui, le thé de ma tatie m’a oté ma toux ! "Uncle, did your auntie’s tea get rid of your cough?" "Yes, my auntie’s tea […]
April 1st, 2015
We’ve just started Mama Lisa’s French Facebook Group to discuss all things French! This group is for people who love French and would like to learn more about the language and culture. We’ll share French learning resources. We welcome recipes and traditions. We’d love to discuss French books, music and movies and other items of […]
February 19th, 2015
We just added a song that’s sung in Dominica! Here’s a Dominican Creole Proverb: Piti hach ka bat gwo bwa. It literally means: Little axe cuts big tree. English equivalent: Don’t judge a man by his size.
January 9th, 2015
Check out Litterature audio.com to listen to hundreds of free French audio books online. You’ll find an impressive selection ranging from the fables of La Fontaine to Proust. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
December 19th, 2014
Season’s greetings! At Mama Lisa’s World there’s no time of year we love better than the holidays! We’re happy to announce that we’ve recently added the following Christmas Carols to Mama Lisa’s World with mp3 recordings and YouTube videos: Italian Dormi, dormi, bel Bambin (Sleep, Sleep Beautiful Child) Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Come Down […]
November 14th, 2014
Monique wrote from France about terms of endearment used in French, Spanish and English that use Animal names… In French, we use many animals names as endearment words. We use: Mon poussin (my chick) Mon poulet (my chicken) Ma poule/poulette (my hen/little hen – mostly for girls) Ma cocotte (my hen – cocotte is baby […]
November 12th, 2014
Monique wrote from France about a cool "emoticon" she uses when corresponding with her friends. Here’s her email: In French, "à demain" (see you tomorrow) sounds like "à 2 mains" (with two hands). That’s why when someone tells you "à demain" you may answer "à deux pieds" (with two feet) as a joke. This all […]
October 21st, 2014
Monique and I have been adding a lot of Drop the Handkerchief Games to Mama Lisa’s World. This got Monique thinking about the actual meaning of handkerchief in different languages. Here are some of her thoughts… "I was thinking about the word for handkerchief in some languages and it’s funny what they literally mean. In […]
July 1st, 2014
For all of you who speak Spanish or French and are bringing up your children multilingual, check out Pluribus Linguis to see how one family goes about this ambitious task. (The site is in French and Spanish.) Feel free to share your own experiences bringing up multilingual kids in the comments below. Pour vous qui […]
June 3rd, 2014
Eating bugs might sound disgusting to most of us today, but some people used to love it! Maybugs or Cockchafers used to be a great nuisance to crops in Europe. People were encouraged to hunt them down to lower their population. There’s even a French song about hunting Maybugs called Il était un petit homme […]
March 27th, 2014
Here’s a video to hear animal sounds around the world… Bow Wow Meow – Animal Sounds in Different Languages from properniceinnit on Vimeo. The languages are: English, Mandarin, French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, Canadian-French, Romanian, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, Bengali, Brazilian-Portuguese, Colombian-Spanish, Swahili and Mongolian. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
February 4th, 2014
Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad celebrates the diversity of America with people singing "America the Beautiful" in many different languages. You can hear it below… The song was sung in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres and Senegalese-French.
January 23rd, 2014
Here’s a very little French tale called "Gâteau" by Jules Lemaître. The story is about two kids trying to share cake. It’s in French with an English translation and a French recording. MP3 of Gâteau On avait donné à deux enfants un gros gâteau et un petit, en leur disant: "Partagez !" Les deux enfants […]
May 30th, 2013
In English, when you don’t understand something, you say "It’s all Greek to me". In French you say either, "C’est de l’hébreu" (It’s in Hebrew) or "C’est du chinois" (It’s in Chinese). In Spanish you say, "Me suena a chino" (Sounds like Chinese to me). It would be interesting to learn what other languages people […]
May 19th, 2013
Here’s the French poem Le Thé (Tea) by Théodore de Banville with an mp3 recording. After the poem you’ll find an English translation. MP3 of Le Thé Le Thé Miss Ellen, versez-moi le Thé Dans la belle tasse chinoise, Où des poissons d’or cherchent noise Au monstre rose épouvanté. J’aime la folle cruauté Des chimères […]
April 24th, 2013
Here’s a musical video to inspire kids to speak French. The song is called J’aime parler français. Enjoy! -Mama Lisa
April 17th, 2013
French Pronunciation is a site that helps you improve your French pronunciation. You can listen to recordings of the sounds you find difficult to pronounce and then practice along with them.
April 1st, 2013
"La nuit porte conseil" is French for "sleep on it". It means, think about it overnight and don’t make a decision until tomorrow… often good advice! The photo is this saying on the door of a Broom closet in Herald Square (New York). –Mama Lisa
December 23rd, 2012
I was sent this email about tipping for services in France at Christmastime… Traditionally, we tip the mailman: he or she brings everyone a calendar which includes a lot of information about the post office, and also about all the towns in the "département" (i.e. county). There are 95 different types of material given since […]
December 19th, 2012
French "fruits déguisés" (fancy fruit) is eaten at Christmastime in France. It’s dried fruit, mainly dates, prunes or figs, stuffed with almond paste or a sweetened crumbled cookie mixture. The filling is usually made in different pastel colors. Almond paste is actually sold in different colors in France. The normal colors you find at […]
November 15th, 2012
This French song about a church bell ringer is amusing! I guess it’s because we’ve all been in the situation where someone around us was making noise that we had no control over. Below you can listen to the mp3 recording of the song, read the original French lyrics along with an English translation… MP3 […]
October 12th, 2012
Here’s a video of the French rhyme and hand play, J’ai deux mains (I Have Two Hands), with the French lyrics and an English translation. J’ai deux mains J’ai deux mains, Elles sont toutes propres, Elles se regardent, Se tournent le dos. Elles se croisent, Elles se tapent, Elles nagent, Elles s’envolent tout là-haut Et […]
August 10th, 2012
Monique wrote to me about a funeral she recently went to in France and about French Funeral traditions in general. Here’s her letter: It was awfully hot on the day of the funeral so it was decided that we would drive to the churchyard. If the burial had been in the morning or if the […]
June 16th, 2012
Recently, we talked about the French good luck charm dolls called Nénette and Rintintin that are made out of yarn. In a second post we explained how to make the yarn dolls. Here we present a 2nd way to make them. This version of the Nénette and Rintintin dolls won’t have a tuft of hair […]
June 14th, 2012
Recently, we talked about the French good luck charm dolls called Nénette and Rintintin that are made out of yarn. Here you can learn how to make them. Supplies Some Yarn (including a piece of red or pink yarn for the mouth) 5 inch piece of cardboard Scissors Yarn Needle Black Embroidery Thread & Needle […]
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Please contribute a traditional song or rhyme from your country.
A Mama Lisa Book
Over 50 songs and rhymes, in French with translations into English. You'll find well-known songs like Frère Jacques, Alouette, and Au claire de la lune, alongside many you may never have heard of. At the end of each item in this book, there's a web address to an online version of the song or rhyme. There we are often able to include sheet music, recordings and videos of performances. We hope this book will help foster a love of French songs and culture all over the world! Order Here!
Travel to far away places with our new E-Books Kid Songs Around The World and Lullabies Around The World
Whoever the children are in your life - your kids, your grandkids, your students, even yourself (in your heart) - Mama Lisa's E-books are wonderful ways to help them experience other languages and cultures.
In Kid Songs Around The World we've gathered 100 of our favorite songs and rhymes from all the continents of the globe.
Each song includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation, and most include sheet music. All include links to web pages where you can listen to recordings, hear the tune or watch a video performance. Each includes a beautiful illustration.
Many have commentary sent to us by our correspondents who write about the history of the songs and what they meant in their lives.
BONUS: Order now and receive Lullabies Around The World FREE!
$3.99 for Both Downloadable E-Books Order Here!
Over 50 lullabies and recordings from all over the world. Each Lullaby includes the full text in the original language, with an English translation.
Kid Songs Around The World and Lullabies Around The World are downloadable e-books, which you will gain access to immediately. (They are not physical books.)
We hope these books will help foster a love of international children's songs!
$3.99 for Both Downloadable E-Books Order Here!