Animals – Lessons 1 – 4

Over the next two days, try to complete the four animal lessons in Duolingo.


Cheval – horse
Chien – dog
Animal – animal
Oiseau – bird
Canard – duck
Chatte – cat (fem)
éléphant – elephant
ours – bear
tortue – tortoise
lion – lion
chienne – dog (fem)
vache – cow
cochon – pig
mouche – fly
singe – monkey
requin – shark
abeille – bee
tigre – tiger
dauphin – dolphin
serpent – snake
araignée – spider
souris – mouse
papillon – butterfly
insect – insect
fourmi – ant
baleine – whale
loup – wolf
zoo – zoo

Purpose of Modules

Introduce more animal vocabulary, continue examples of feminine/masculine nouns and adjectives.

Sentence Examples

As-tu un chien? Do you have a dog?
Avez vous un chien? Do you have a dog?
Je suis une mouche – I am a fly
L’éléphant mange une pomme – The elephant eats an apple
L’homme a un éléphant – The man has an elephant
Le chat est un animal – A cat is an animal
Le cheval noir mange une pomme – The black horse is eating an apple
L’oiseau est rouge – The bird is red
Nous avons une chatte – We have a cat
Nous avons un chat et un chien – We have a cat and a dog
L’homme a un éléphant – The man has an elephant
L’ours noir mange une pomme – The black bear is eating an apple
Nous avons un enfant et un chat – We have a child and a cat
Nous avons un chien et un chat – We have a dog and a cat
Nous avons un enfant et une chatte – We have a dog and a female cat
Tu manges le cochon – You are eating the pig
Un canard est un oiseau – A duck is a bird
Un canard noir mange une pomme -A black duck eats an apple
Un animal mange une pomme – An animal eats an apple
Une abeille – A bee

Masculine Un, Le, Du

(de + le)

chien, animal, chat, éléphant, oiseau, canard, cheval, cochon, singe, dolphin, papillon, loup, ours, lion, requin, tigre, serpent, insect, zoo
Feminine Une, La chienne, chatte, abeille, tortue, fourmi, vache, mouche, souris, baleine,  araignée

Mnemonics – masculine – animal (he’s an animal!), éléphant (trunk obvious), oiseau (birdman), canard (daffy duck), cheval (Mr. Ed), cochon (porky pig, again), singe (monkey boy or Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees!), dolphin (Flipper), papillon (the prisoner), loup (wolfman), ours (Yogi Bear), lion (Lion King), requin (Card Shark), tigre (Tony the Tiger), serpent (Jake the Snake), insect (Bugsy Malone), zoo (Zoolander)

Mnemonics – feminine – abeille (Bee Hive hairdo), tortue (chocolate turtles on Valentine’s), fourmi (My aunt ant), vache (cow not steer, again), mouche (a beauty mark looks like a fly), souris (Minnie Mouse), baleine (whale is female, rhymes), araignée (Curse of the Spider Woman)


You may be tricked by having the module interchange male/female cats/dogs during an audio question. I don’t see any way of knowing the gender based on hearing the words. To my ear they are the same, but I am not a native speaker. We are also starting to see accent marks, and in French I have found there are quite a few. There are four French accents for vowels and one accent for a consonant.

The accent aigu ´ (acute accent) can only be on an E (e). At the beginning of a word, it often indicates that an S used to follow that vowel, e.g., étudiant (student).

The accent grave ` (grave accent) can be found on an A, E or U. On the A and U, it usually serves to distinguish between words that would otherwise be homographs (same spelling) e.g., ou (or)  (where), or words that would otherwise be homographs (same pronunciation).

The accent circonflexe ˆ (circumflex) can be on an A, E, I, O or U. The circumflex usually indicates that an S used to follow that vowel, but not always, e.g., forêt (forest). It has other uses, like serving to distinguish between homographs; e.g., du (the contraction of de + le) and  which is the past participle of the verb devoir (to owe).

The accent tréma ¨ (dieresis or umlaut) can be on an E, I or U. It is used when two vowels are next to each other and both must be pronounced, e.g., naïveSaül.

The cédille ¸ (cedilla) is that small hook under the letter C. It changes a hard C sound (like K) into a soft C sound (like S), e.g., garçon. The cedilla is never placed in front of E or I, because C always sounds like an S in front of these vowels.

If you wish to type with these accent marks, consider inserting symbols in word, or reading the post where I cover keyboards, and how to install a virtual French keyboard: