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Alouette (song) facts for kids

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"Alouette"
Song
Language French
Written Unknown
Genre Folk
Songwriter(s) Traditional

"Alouette" (pronounced: [alwɛt]) is a popular French-language Canadian children's song, commonly thought to be about plucking the feathers from a lark. Although it is in French, it is well known among speakers of other languages; in this respect it is similar to "Frère Jacques". Many US Marines and other Allied soldiers learned the song while serving in France during World War I and took it home with them, passing it on to their children and grandchildren.

Structure

"Alouette" usually involves audience participation, with the audience echoing every line of each verse after the verse's second line. It is a cumulative song, with each verse built on top of the previous verses, much like the English carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

Lyrics

Below are the original French lyrics along with a literal English translation.

French English translation
Refrain
Alouette, gentille alouette,
Alouette, je te plumerai.

1.

Je te plumerai la tête. ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

2.

Je te plumerai le bec. ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

3.

Je te plumerai les yeux. ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

4.

Je te plumerai le cou. ×2
Et le cou!  ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

5.

Je te plumerai les ailes. ×2
Et les ailes!  ×2
Et le cou!  ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

6.

Je te plumerai les pattes. ×2
Et les pattes!  ×2
Et les ailes!  ×2
Et le cou!  ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

7.

Je te plumerai la queue. ×2
Et la queue!  ×2
Et les pattes!  ×2
Et les ailes!  ×2
Et le cou!  ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain

8.

Je te plumerai le dos. ×2
Et le dos!  ×2
Et la queue!  ×2
Et les pattes!  ×2
Et les ailes!  ×2
Et le cou!  ×2
Et les yeux!  ×2
Et le bec!  ×2
Et la tête!  ×2
Alouette!  ×2
A-a-a-ah
Refrain
Refrain
Lark, nice lark,
Lark, I will pluck you.

1.

I will pluck your head. ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

2.

I will pluck your beak. ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

3.

I will pluck your eyes. ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

4.

I will pluck your neck. ×2
And your neck!  ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

5.

I will pluck your wings. ×2
And your wings!  ×2
And your neck!  ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

6.

I will pluck your legs. ×2
And your legs!  ×2
And your wings!  ×2
And your neck!  ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

7.

I will pluck your tail. ×2
And your tail!  ×2
And your legs!  ×2
And your wings!  ×2
And your neck!  ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

8.

I will pluck your back. ×2
And your back!  ×2
And your tail!  ×2
And your legs!  ×2
And your wings!  ×2
And your neck!  ×2
And your eyes!  ×2
And your beak!  ×2
And your head!  ×2
Lark!  ×2
O-o-o-oh
Refrain

Adaptations

An English song known as "If You Love Me" uses the same tune as "Alouette".

The English composer Benjamin Britten adapted the tune for part of his 1939 orchestral composition Canadian Carnival.

The tune of the chorus has been adapted to make the tune of the children's song "Down by the Station".

The song was used by French-Canadian nuns in the United States to help teach French to their students. They substituted the French word for human body parts for the bird parts.

An instrumental version was recorded on March 20, 1962, as one of the songs on the Pete and Conte Candoli jazz album There Is Nothing Like a Dame, featuring the Candoli brothers on trumpets, Shelly Manne on drums, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Howard Roberts on guitar and Gary Peacock on bass.

The tune was recomposed into a musical lesson on being a ghost, titled, appropriately, Ghost Lesson and sung by Casper and others on the record Casper - A Trip Through Ghostland.

The melody for the sung parts of "Little Bunny Foo Foo" is taken from "Alouette".

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