doudou

charlie2

Senior Member
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Hello, everyone,
This is not actually my question, so I am only giving as much context as I could.
A friend of mine makes children's toys for, among others, French clients, based on designs supplied by them. He told me that the word "doudou" is everywhere in his instructions or drawings. He is so curious about it that he has to ask me to ask you to help. These things that he makes include bath books, plush (peluche?) toys, children's little towels, etc.
By the way, the word does not appear in a sentence, according to him.
Any ideas?
Thank you.
 
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  • sophievm

    Senior Member
    France - français
    Un doudou, c'est n'importe quoi (un objet, un bout de tissu, une peluche, un foulard de Maman, etc.) auquel un petit enfant tient particulièrement et sans lequel il ne peut généralement ni se déplacer ni Surtout dormir. C'est un peu un porte-bonheur. Les psys pensent que c'est un substitut de mère qu'ils peuvent ainsi promener partout avec eux.
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Oh yes, many, Charlie !
    Un "doudou" is an object than a baby/young child sees as its favorite one and as an avatar of his mum (sleeps with it, sometimes cannot stand being separated from it, even in the car, at school by the age of 2-3, etc.).
    So, the toy manufacturers make a large scale of cute/tiny/EXPENSIVE objects that we use to offer to babies/young children for a "doudou" purpose.

    Found on the web :

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    http://www.doctissimo.fr/html/sante/mag_2000/mag0804/images/bebe_doudou.jpg

    Pas de dodo sans doudou

    Si le rôle du doudou est bien connu, le fait que la moitié des enfants n’en aient pas besoin reste encore un mystère. [...] Le Docteur Gabriel Ybarra a présenté, lors du dernier congrès de l’American Psychological Association, une étude qui pourrait expliquer la nécessité d’un objet transitionnel chez l’enfant. Pour lui, la présence ou l’absence de l’un des parents lors de l’endormissement serait essentielle.[...]
    ----
     
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    charlie2

    Senior Member
    Agnes E. said:
    So, the toy manufacturers make a large scale of cute/tiny/EXPENSIVE objects that we use to offer to babies/young children for a "doudou" purpose.
    Yes, I understand that his business is thriving.
    I like the "pas de dodo sans doudou". It will surely help me to remember this. :) Thank you.
     

    charlie2

    Senior Member
    Jean-Michel Carrère said:
    Could such a phrase as 'favourite cuddly toy' be used in English for the French 'doudou' ?
    Je ne sais pas comment te répondre. I checked the WR dictionary before opening this thread. It gives "girlfriend" as the English translation of "doudou". You might like to check that out too. Are there more to it?
     

    Addyblue

    Senior Member
    France, French native speaker
    charlie2 said:
    Je ne sais pas comment te répondre. I checked the WR dictionary before opening this thread. It gives "girlfriend" as the English translation of "doudou". You might like to check that out too. Are there more to it?

    No, that's an African word used in African French-speaking countries (and even France sometimes) and it does mean (African) girlfriend, darling, wife, etc. So, it's a feminine noun only!
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Charlie, that's funny !

    Doudou = girlfriend/boyfriend in CREOLE ! (French spoken in West Indies)
    If you ask any French in France to explain you "doudou" he will immediately think about the baby object (unless he comes from West Indies :D)

    I think someone has to send a message in comment forum regarding that matter. For me, the creole word comes after the toy one.
     

    Addyblue

    Senior Member
    France, French native speaker
    "un doudou" is something (a blanket, cuddly toy, cloth, etc.) that babies need to have to go to sleep, to comfort them when they're upset, to reassure them.
     

    tobba007

    New Member
    Ireland, English
    I agree with the previous posts.

    The problem (for translation) is that the French term is wider than the set English term "comfort blanket"...

    So, you really need to know the object in question to come up with a fudge, i.e.:
    "favourite teddy (bear)",
    "comfort blanket",
    "security blanket".

    "Security object" has an equivalent scope, but is quite scientific and you won't hear many parents using that one... :)
     

    frankofile

    Member
    American English
    Pour les français: there is no commonly-used *generic* term in American English that is the equivalent of "un doudou".

    For literal objects that a child uses, we identify the object and then, if necessary, explain that it is the child's "security blanket".

    A common slangy reduction of the phrase is "binky", which is frequently used for all kinds of objects, not just blankets - especially pacifiers.

    We do use the same term "security blanket" metaphorically for adults who are dependent on something. It is usually meant to be pejorative or at least teasing. (If "binky" is used it is very likely to be meant insultingly.)
     

    nexia

    Member
    Français, Franglish, English, Québécois
    "pas de dodo sans doudou" is simple.. .you need to have babies to know what it means exactly... my babies are not able to sleep if they do not hold their doudou...

    baby blanket, plush toy... their prefered one...

    it is mostly known word in Quebec province, where we use the "doudou" syntax instead of "doux-doux" which mean "gentle gentle"...

    the pacifier is different, never considered as a doudou.
     

    xaipete

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Security blanket" is used metaphorically for all sorts of objects, not just blankets. There's even a book "Happiness is a warm blanket". My own children referred to their threadbare favorites as "blankets", but their friends had "binkies" and "blankies". I think binkie and blankie are for younger users; adults just need their security blanket, whatever form it may take.
     

    Carcassonnaise

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm having trouble with my current translation - and also in general - with "doudou". Usually this is translated as "security blanket", of course, but I don't think this is great. Firstly, doudous are not usually blankets and secondly... do British and American children even have them?! Any flashes of brilliance on the question greatly appreciated!
     

    Filo Niagara

    Senior Member
    English
    Every speaker of American English knows what a security blanket is. In the comic strip Peanuts, Linus was often pictured with a security blanket. Physically, it is a baby blanket, about 1 meter x 1 meter in size. The child keeps it with him/her to provide a sense of security.

    The term is frequently used figuratively. "His red convertible is his security blanket."
     

    grain de sel

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    For me, a 'comforter' is 'une couette' and does not have the same figurative meaning as the term 'security blanket' which Filo Niagara has described so well.

    I see that Wordreference has indicated that 'comforter' and 'dummy' can be used as translations of 'tétine' http://www.wordreference.com/fren/tetine
    but personally I've never heard these words used in that way. They might be terms used in Great Britain. Does that answer your question about the word 'dummy,' Carcassonnaise? Maybe someone from GB can tell us if the word 'dummy' carries the same figurative sense meaning as 'security blanket,' but as far as I know, it doesn't.
     

    Filo Niagara

    Senior Member
    English
    For me, a 'comforter' is 'une couette' and does not have the same figurative meaning as the term 'security blanket'

    Right. In the U.S. anyway, a "comforter" is never a "security blanket."

    A comforter is a large, soft, bulky, warm blanket (for a bed). It can be an édredon.

    There is an academic term "comfort object" in psychology which means "security blanket", but nobody in the real world uses the term "comfort object".
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    The word you can use which has the imprint of childishness on it, like doudou, in English is "blankey." The child carries his blankey around with him everywhere he goes.

    How about "lovey," which can be a stuffed animal or a blanket?

    Personally I've never heard "lovey" used this way. I remember Mr. Howell called his wife "Lovey" on Gilligan's Island and of course there's the pair-word, "lovey-dovey," but no, never heard 'lovey' used as a common noun. Sure it isn't BE?
     

    ClydeDAiredale

    Member
    English - American
    "Lovey" appears pretty frequently in parenting books and has the advantage of being a more general term, which could include a doll or a stuffed animal. That said, there's no question that "blankey" is more commonly heard. As usual, it all depends on the context....
     

    Wodwo

    Senior Member
    UK English
    "Lovey" appears pretty frequently in parenting books and has the advantage of being a more general term, which could include a doll or a stuffed animal. That said, there's no question that "blankey" is more commonly heard. As usual, it all depends on the context....

    I have never heard either "lovey" or "blankey" used in this context - they are definitely not BE as far as I'm concerned.

    I agree with all those who say that in English we specify the object. In my middle daughter's case it was a wooden fire engine, which we could only call her fire engine. I wonder, could something so hard be called a "doudou" in French? It certainly served the same purpose as a favourite teddy bear, blanket, etc.

    I had always thought a "doudou" was a dummy, also called a pacifier in AE I think, which someone does mention here, but maybe that's not such common usage?
     

    LARSAY

    Senior Member
    BI-NATIONAL FRENCH-ENGLISH.
    I know only the meaning of "doudou" a sweet name for a young girl in the vernacular creole language of the black people of the French West Indies
     

    Mosquito34

    Member
    English English
    I have never heard either "lovey" or "blankey" used in this context - they are definitely not BE as far as I'm concerned.

    I agree with all those who say that in English we specify the object. In my middle daughter's case it was a wooden fire engine, which we could only call her fire engine. I wonder, could something so hard be called a "doudou" in French? It certainly served the same purpose as a favourite teddy bear, blanket, etc.

    I had always thought a "doudou" was a dummy, also called a pacifier in AE I think, which someone does mention here, but maybe that's not such common usage?


    ' Lovey ' is quite standard middle class English ( but not Scots, Irish or Welsh I think) usage as in ' hello, lovey ! what's for dinner ? Never heard
    of it other than in a conjugal sense.

    Isn't ' do-do ' US for that nasty stuff ?

    Regards, Mozzie34
     
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