Animal Names in French

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

If you want to be able to read anything from French literature to children's stories, you're going to need to learn some animal names. This lesson introduces many of the most common animals in French.

Animals in French

A great way to build your French vocabulary is to learn the names of various animals in French. After all, French culture is still well connected to the countryside, which means that you'll often encounter these terms when reading even the most basic of French literature. As a bonus, you'll notice that many animal names are the same as their culinary equivalents, so you won't have to learn different words for a cow and for beef.

In this lesson, we're going to explore the three places that you're most likely to encounter the sorts of animals that you'll read and speak about in French.

Around the House

Let's start by looking around the house first. Chances are you have had or have known someone who has un animal de compagnie (pronounced: ahn ani-mal du com-pah-nyee), although you'd just call your chien (pronounced: shiahn) or chat (pronounced: shah) a pet.

Instead of a dog or a cat, you may keep un poisson (pronounced: ahn pwa-ssohn) in l'aquarium (pronounced: la-quar-iahm) where it would swim out its fishy little life. You may have even had un oiseau (pronounced: ahn wa-so) in une cage (pronounced: oon cahj) in hopes that it doesn't fly away!

Farm Animals

Still, dogs, cats, fish, and birds aren't everything. Some people grow up on a farm, or in French, une ferme (pronounced: oon fair-m), and just about everyone has thought about a life in the country. One of the first things you would notice on a farm is une vache (pronounced: oon vash), and it would greet you with a moo that sounds the same in any language! You may also see someone riding un cheval (pronounced: ahn sheu-val) that is galloping past the cows.

Cows and horses aren't the only farm animals though. You may also notice un poulet (pronounced: ahn poo-lay) that, if you're like me, you think is better fried than crowing every morning! Of course, chickens are not the only animals that you may want to eat from the farm. You may also see un cochon (pronounced: ahn co-shon) getting fattened up so the farmer can turn it into a ham for the winter!

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