If you’re a French speaker or are currently learning French, you may have noticed that certain English words have more than one French translation. One such example that I explored in a previous blog post is “owl“. Camel is another English word with two common translations in French. So what is camel in French? The words used for camel in French are chameau and dromadaire.
Difference between un dromadaire and un chameau
Both the chameau and dromadaire are camels that live in harsh desert environments.
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The word chameau, however, usually refers to the species of camels living in Asia, also known as the Bactrian Camel in English. They can be found in areas such as the Gobi Desert and the steppes of Mongolia.
The dromadaire, also called Dromedary or Arabian Camel, lives in the deserts of North Africa.
The most notable physical difference between a dromadaire and chameau is the number of humps each animal has. The chameau has two humps while the dromadaire has one.
You can teach your little francophone the difference by pointing out that the word chameau has two syllables, like its two humps.
Fun fact: Contrary to popular belief, a camel’s hump is not a reservoir of water. Rather, it’s a reserve of energy that the camel uses to nourish itself when unable to feed.
French lullaby about camels
Here is a comptine called Les bosses. It’s not only a fun song to teach children the difference between un chameau and un dromadaire, but it is also a humourous song about the appearance of bumps after a fall.
|Une bosse, c’est le|
Deux bosses, c’est
Trois bosses, c’est
mon petit frère
Qui tombe de l’escabeau.
|A bump is the|
Two bumps is
Three bumps is
my little brother
Who falls from the stool.