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The 2nd Day of Christmas

Le deuxième jour de Noël, mon amour m’a donné : deux tourterelles…

(On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: two turtle doves…)


All together now…

Le deuxième jour - The Twelve Days of Christmas in French

deux tourterelles
(two turtle doves)

1. une tourterelle (a turtle dove) – okay, not spectacularly useful as vocabulary goes, I admit. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure what a turtle dove was in English, so I looked it up. Interestingly, the word for “dove” in French (“une colombe”) doesn’t make it into this word, and “turtle” (“une tortue”) despite seeming to have had an influence, doesn’t either. In fact, it turns out that it doesn’t really in English. The “turtle” in “turtle dove” refers to the “turr turr” sound the bird makes and has nothing to do with aquatic relative of the tortoise at all, which comes from a Latin word. The apparent relationship is a coincidence in both languages!

Beat that, Stephen Fry, for a QI smartypants mini-fact!

2. Le deuxième / la deuxième – Unlike premier/première there is only one form of all the other ordinal numbers. If you think about it, it’s the same for the cardinal numbers (un/une, deux, trois…), so you would say la deuxième fois (the second time). They all have accents in their -ième suffix.

(Tip: if you struggle to remember which way around ordinal and cardinal numbers, the ordinal numbers are ordered: first, second, third, etc. Simple!)

More: 1st Day | The 12 Days of Christmas | 3rd Day

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Author info

Gruff Davies

Despite the very Welsh name, Gruff is actually half French. Nowadays, he's a tech entrepreneur (and some-time novelist) but he used to be a physicist at Imperial College before getting hooked on inventing things. He has a special interest in language learning, speaks five languages to varying degrees of fluency and he often blogs about language learning, science, and technology. As well as co-founding Kwiziq, he is the author the Amazon best-selling SF thriller, The Looking Glass Club and the inventor of the Exertris gaming exercise-bike and Pidgin, a free online tool that makes drawing flow charts and relationship diagrams as quick and easy as describing them in pidgin English.

Laura K Lawless

Laura is Kwiziq's Language and Marketing Coordinator. Online educator since '99, Laura is passionate about language, travel, and cooking. She's American by birth and a permanent ex-pat by choice - freelancing made it possible for her to travel extensively and live in several countries before settling permanently in Guadeloupe. Laura is the author of Lawless French, Lawless Spanish, and other websites and books on French, Spanish, English, and vegetarianism. She spends most of her spare time reading, playing with food, and enjoying water sports.

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