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The 9th Day of Christmas

Le neuvième jour de Noël, mon amour m’a donné : neuf jolies danseuses…

(On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: nine ladies dancing…)


I could do a duet with Leona Lewis… obviously I don’t want to overshadow her though.

Le neuvième jour - The Twelve Days of Christmas in French

neuf danseuses
(nine ladies dancing)

I’ve never liked this line. “Ladies dancing”? I mean come on! First “geese a-laying” and now this! Such a half-hearted commitment to alliteration is despicable. And to think, it could so have easily been “women waltzing”. Unfortunately, in French, we can’t do much better.

1. jolies danseuses (pretty dancers). Okay, this isn’t ladies dancing because “dansant” doesn’t work; however, when we use “danseuses” (dancers) the fact they are ladies is already captured since danseuses is feminine! It would be weird to say “dames danseuses” since the gender is already contained in the word. To make this line singable, after much experimenting we discovered we really needed two extra syllables (we tried belles but one syllable wasn’t enough), so we plumped for pretty: joli/jolie which doesn’t changed the sense too much. Hopefully your grand amour isn’t going to send “ugly dancers” (moches danseuses).

More: 8th Day | The 12 Days of Christmas | 10th 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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