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Are articles required before nouns in flash cards for small kids?


I am developer of educational app for small kids (2-3 years) "Kids learn about Animals"

Now I am working on localizing this app into French and I need a little help from native French people.

The idea of my app is to show the kid the photos of animals, speak the name of this animals and display this name on the screen. After viewing the pictures child will have the small game – funny test of his new knowledge of animals.

As far as I know, the articles before the nouns in French are very important. So, when I order the translation I mention it to the translator. But when I received the translated file, the French names of animals were without the articles.

Also, I received the message from the translator: "As for the article before the word it's really unnecessary".

Could you please clarify the the situation: are the articles really unnecessary for such kind of applications (age of kid 2-4 years old).

Is this OK if the kid will see the photo of the cat and hear and see: "CHAT" instead of "le Chat"?

I really need your advise because I am planning to send the project to dictator for voice-over.

Also, I really appreciate if you could take a look to the the attached XLS localization file.

Is French localization good enough?

Kind Regards,

Dmitry Skornyakov (cleverbit)

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Translator is right, articles are not necessary for this app.

I think it may be a question of audience. Flash cards for native French children would probably not have the article. But for foreign language learners, there is a tendency to include the article even though it can sound a bit unnatural to native speakers, just because learning the gender of words is thought to be important in the initial stages.

But... I think you could take the view that, even for non-native children, at that age, the gender isn't so important -- they can get used to the basic word and then the gender/article will come later.

Why not include it as an option in your app to include the article or not, depending on the parent's preference?

Thanks for explanation and suggestion. If the app contain text only - no problem. But app also contains the dictated names  (voice messages) and I should inform the dictator how to tell: "chat" or "le chat"

Hey :)

I'm a french native speaker and i confirm as the articles are not really necessary in your app.
When you're saying as you found only french flesh cards with articles, this is because the english word for them have an article.

For exemple: "l'orange" is getting the "l'" article because this is THE orange.
You can say: "Une orange" if your translation is: AN orange.
But in your app, you're not adding any article before your these words.

cat = chat.
a cat = un chat.
the cat = le chat

jellyfish = méduse.
a jellyfish = une méduse.
the jellyfish = la méduse.

Note: "le / la" are depeding of the gender of the name (male or female) in the dictionnary.
it's the same for "un / une".


It's very informative note. In fact, every foreign French teacher told me that articles are required. And it seems it's required mostly for learning foreigners.

Does it mean, that when you teach the 2-year kid, you tell him: CHAT (no "le chat")

How the kid will know the gender of this animal in that case?

The articles are required in sentences, you can't say: "regarde poisson" 
but you should say "regarde le/ce poisson".

If you would like to teach the names only, without giving informations about the gender, you don't need articles, else, it could be very useful for kids to learn easily. I translated it for you, look at the xlsx.

note: i fixed some translation issues ;)

Nicolas, thank you very much!!!

Thank you all for the help. I have one more question about article in the question.

I have a test in the app where the question asked. The template of the question in English is:

Where is the *?

For example: Where is the cat? Where is the Dog?

The translator offers the template for such question:

Où est le *?

Is this the universal template that OK for any noun? For example, are all these questions correct?

Où est le chat? Où est le Libellule? Où est le Autruche? Où est le Automne?

(kid should choose the correct picture)


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