French Cartoons and Children’s TV: a great way to learn FrenchIFALPES
Babar the Elephant
Babar the Elephant is a good example of such a cartoon series.
Babar is the name of a little elephant, who is a popular character for children’s TV. He was created by Jean de Brunhoff and was featured in Histoire de Babar (“The Story of Babar”). Babar has become well-known throughout the world and there have been a number of movies made about him, as well as animated TV series such as Les Aventures de Babar.
Why Children’s TV and Cartoons in French
Of course, children are at a time in their lives when it is easy for them to learn something new, but surprisingly adults can really benefit from watching kids’ TV as well. In cartoons, what the characters say is often delivered in short sentences, often with exclamatory words and slang terms. You learn to understand the words young people use, as well as picking up phrases that are in common everyday use in France. Some examples are “joujou,” meaning a toy, and “dodo,” meaning to sleep.
The speech and narrative in French cartoon series has been produced using professional actors, and so is of a very high quality when it comes to pronunciation. Watching French movies can help you learn the language too but unless your level of fluency and understanding is at a high enough level this can be difficult. Animations in French are much easier to follow, and the better you can follow what you are watching the more you will learn. If you are already studying a French language course, the viewing of French cartoons is something you can do in your spare time that should help your studies.
Many people enjoy talking about what they like watching on TV with their friends, and if you do this it gives you the opportunity for speaking in French and using any new words you have learned. Everyone has their own favourite television shows and characters. But besides the example of Babar the Elephant that we have already mentioned, what other popular French cartoons are there? Let’s take a look.
Little Hippo (“Petit Potam”) is another well-known cartoon series that has been shown on children’s TV in France. It follows the adventures of Little Hippo and Tessie, Tim and Tam, who all live in Muddy Wallow. The series is based on the Petit Potam books by Christine Chagnoux.
The Mysterious Cities of Gold
The Mysterious Cities of Gold (“Les Mystérieuses Cités d’or”) is a popular French-Japanese animated series about a boy called Esteban who voyages to the New World in search for his father and the Lost “Cities of Gold.”
Educational series too
There are cartoons in French that are intended as educational too. Il Était une Fois… l’Homme (“Once upon a Time…Man”) and Il Était une Fois…la Vie (“Once upon a Time…Life”) teach children about the history of the world and about the human body. Videos of this series can be found on Youtube.
You can certainly learn a lot by watching French television and improve your knowledge of the language of France at the same time.