Le douzième jour de Noël, mon amour m’a donné : douze joueurs de tambour…
(On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: twelve drummers drumming…)
Well, if you’re still with me, eardrums intact, I say well done you and let’s raise a glass of champagne together to celebrate! I certainly need a drink, I don’t know about you.
This line is, alas, another disappointing compromise. The problem is a “drum” in French is un tambour (a teensy drum being a tamourine, see?)
1 – The word for drummer in a band is a batteur (or batteuse for a lady) – which sensibly means “beater” – and a drum kit is a une batterie (yet electric batteries are… piles! Don’t blame French: we have Benjamin Franklin to thank for calling electric batteries by such a weird name). However, a drummer of the marching band kind would be a “joueur de tambour” (L’enfant au tambour is the French version of “Little Drummer Boy.”)
2. tréma (diaeresis) – No, I haven’t eaten something bad, I’ve just realised I haven’t covered the ë in Noël. This accent (which Germans call an umlaut) is fortunately quite rare in French and simply indicates you need to pronounce both vowels seperately. So it’s “no-ell” not “nole” (also Chloë: clow-ee).