Brother John Lyrics in English and in French

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Brother John

Languages: English, French
Ressource Type: song, nursery rhyme
Theme: traditionnal song
Age-range: infant-preschool, 4 – 8 years


Download the words of the song:
Brother John Lyrics

“Brother John” is a nursery rhyme of French origin traditionally sung in a round. Its original title is “Frère Jacques”. The song is about a monk who has overslept and is urged to wake up and sound the bell for the “matins”.


French version:

Frère Jacques

Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous ? Dormez-vous ?
Sonnez les matines ! Sonnez les matines !
Ding, daing, dong. Ding, daing, dong.

Traditionnal English Lyrics:

Are you sleeping?

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.


English Translation:

Brother Jacques

Brother Jacques, Brother Jacques,
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Ring [the bells for] matins! Ring [the bells for] matins!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.

Brother John by Steve Waring from the album Oh! My Songs


Culture and Vocabulary:

  • to sleep, brother, morning, bell


  • structure « Are you + …ing? »


  • syllabic and rhythmic structures

Brother John by Mother Goose Club from the album Sings Nursery Rhymes

Teaching suggestions:


Videos of the song “Brother John” in English:

Video of the song “Frère Jacques” in French:

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