Sunday, June 10, 2012

Something New: Foreign Language Nursery Rhymes (listen/learn)

DON'T: It was raining and all the lovely things I had planned were suddenly washed out. I found an undercover market in Scoresby, though, and thought it might make up for our aborted outing. The Caribbean Garden Market is a misnomer. There is nothing remotely Caribbean about it and no gardens to speak of, just muddy grass and a concrete cage with a mishmash of chickens and pigeons. The market was of the cheap, trashy and dirty variety and full of men who jiggled their balls and women who smoked over their babies' prams.

I took Dear Boy grocery shopping at Woolworths instead and bought two bunches of flowers to soothe my disappointed spirits. But that's not the something new; I couldn't leave it there - our 'somethings news' were meant to be celebratory or joyful. So I jumped on line and researched some new nursery rhymes to sing to my boy. I thought I might even brave some in another language.

LISTEN: I found this song ('L'alphabet Des Scouts') via, which came with lyrics and an .mp3 to help me learn the melody.

LEARN: I studied French in school and university, but belatedly realised that there was a threshhold for my foreign language vocabularly and ability to conjugate. In France, it came in handy but there were no long rambly conversations about literature and philosophy for me. I ordered food; I purchased tickets; I read the comics in the newspaper. But children's songs I can do. I still remember the incredibly depressing kids songs we learnt in German - one about kids living in high-rises and breaking down fences to play in rich people's gardens; and another featuring bloody baby seal eyes and a very stern animal rights message.

This song is much more cheery, or at least, a little more wholesome. It's a scouting song and also helps you learn how to pronounce the French alphabet... with the exception of W ('double-v') and Y (i-grec') because those are just a bitch to rhyme.
Un jour la troupe campa A A A
La pluie se mit à tomber B B B
L'orage à tout casser CCC
Faillit nous inonder A B C D

Le chef s' mit à crier É É É
À son adjoint Joseph F F F
Fais-nous vite à manger G G G
Les scouts sont sous la bâche E F G H

Les pinsons dans leur nid I I I
Les loups dans leur logis J J J
Chahutaient quel fracas K K K
Avec les hirondelles I J K L

Joseph fit de la crème M M M
Et du lapin de garenne N N N
Et même du cacao O O O
Mes amis quel souper M N O P

Soyez bien convaincus Q Q Q
Que la vie au grand air R R R
Fortifie la jeunesse S S S
Renforce la santé Q R S T

Maintenant qu'il ne pleut plus U U U
Les scouts vont se sauver V V V
Le temps est au beau fixe X X X
Plus besoin qu'on les aide U V X Z**
 It's going to take me a while to learn this. In the meantime, I've picked up a few shorter nursery rhymes in English that I'd never heard before. This is by far my favourite - mostly because I do not love the feathered creatures of the world and they do not love me.
Away, birds, away!
Take a little and leave a little,
And do not come again;
For if you do,
I will shoot you through,
And there will be an end of you.
And this one:
"Buzz, Buzz, Buzz," says the great buzzing bee.
"Go away butterfly – this flower is for me."
"Why? Why? Why?" Says the little butterfly.
"If you may sit on this flower, why mayn't I?"
** It's not altogether clear to me who 'owns' this song, if there's even a copyright on it as it's a common song. If the owners want me to acknowledge them, please contact me.

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