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Roses are indeed red, but violets are actually violet. That’s why it’s important to learn the colors in French before (almost) anything else.
We sometimes forget how splendid the world we live in is. Lucky we have Netflix and David Attenborough to remind us that the spectacular is around us and not in our imagination. But what if the world would lose its color? Would the sky have the same calming effect without its blue? Would we still yearn to spend an afternoon in the wonderful sea of green trees lying at the foothills of a mountain? Would we still drool at the sight of colorless food?
This is exactly why colors are such a vital part of our everyday vocabulary.
The colors in French
There is ‘Pinot Noir’, ‘film noir’, ‘neo-noir’ movies, and even ‘noir furniture’. So what is ‘noir’? Well, ‘noir’ is French for ‘black’. Simple as that.
But once again, French learners are not as lucky as English learners. While in English color names keep their forms regardless of the noun’s gender, French colors must agree with the gender and number of the noun they are determining. For example, for a feminine noun, ‘noir’ becomes ‘noire’. Additionally, for a plural feminine noun, ‘noir’ receives both an ‘e’ and an ‘s’ and becomes ‘noires’.
The most common colors in French:
- red — rouge
- pink — rose
- orange — orange
- yellow — jaune
- green — vert
- blue — bleu
- brown — marron
- violet — violet
- cyan — cyan
- grey — gris
- white — blanc
- black — noir
The pronunciation of most of these color names can prove to be really tricky if you don’t have the audio handy. Luckily, you can always play this short video to see how the natives do it in a quick lesson from Mondly:
Now stop right there because we have three tiny little exceptions to discuss.
First of all, the feminine of ‘blanc’ is ‘blanche’.
Secondly, the colors that already end in an ‘e’ remain the same for feminine nouns. You don’t have to add an extra ‘e’. Just an ‘s’ if you need the plural form.
Last, but not least, ‘orange’ and ‘marron’ never change. Regardless of the gender or the number of nouns they are determining, they stay the same.
If you are ready for more, here’s lesson no. 2 of colors in French with Mondly:
From 0 to conversational in French
Do you want to see the French colors in action? Get Mondly, the award-winning language learning app that will help you speak French as if you were born in Paris.
It can be really tricky to master the French pronunciation if you don’t actively live in France. But with Mondly you’ll have access to a fast and highly efficient learning method that allows you to learn French naturally with:
- practical topics,
- bite-sized lessons,
- real-life conversations,
- and so much more.
Start using Mondly for free on your computer or download the app and learn French anytime, anywhere.