Bijou, Caillou, Chou, Genou, Hibou, Joujou, Pou: a Twist to a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

Unless you know of a French idiom starting with the letter X, I must give a twist to the expression-du-jour.

I owe the idea to my husband. He masters the French language like a French native and finds a solution to any problem like an American. Merci, thank you, for letting me off the hook with this suggestion.

 

The majority of French nouns mark their plural with the letter S, matching the English most common way. However, like irregular plurals in English, there are some exceptions in French, too.

 

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The most notorious are seven nouns that as a child I learned by heart, in alphabetical order, almost like a short poem.

 

 

BIJOU: JEWEL

CAILLOU: PEBBLE

CHOU: CABBAGE

GENOU: KNEE

HIBOU: OWL

JOUJOU: TOY (a small toy, or a babyish way to name a toy)

POU: LICE

 

These seven nouns ending with the letters O and U don’t mark their plural with an S but an X: Bijoux, Cailloux, Choux, Genoux, Hiboux, Joujoux, Poux.

 

Now, I’m asking my French friends:

Do kids still learn them the same way? Les enfants français apprennent-ils encore ces pluriels irréguliers par cœur?

 

Promise, I’m returning to the French Idioms series tomorrow!

 

A to Z Challenge

 

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