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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Children's Taunting Tune
Author:   Lee Hartman
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Psycholinguistics

Query:   Wed, 14 Jan 1998 09:45:57 -0600 (CST)
Lee Hartman
Children's Taunting Tune

Sol mi la sol mi
Nyeah nyeah nya nyeah nyeah!
You ca- -an't catch me!
Yes I- -I ca- -an!
John- ny's a cry- baby!
(Same tune as ''It's raining, it's pouring,
the old man is snoring.'')

During my childhood here in the U.S.A., when my playmates
wanted to taunt one another, regardless with what words, they sang
them to this tune. Since then I have heard that English-speaking
children all over the world use the same tune. Though I can't be
sure, I think I have also heard informally the incredible claim that
_all_ children, regardless of language, use this tune to taunt one
Can anyone shed light on these myths? Do children's taunts in
other languages assume standard tunes?

- ------------------------------------------------------------------
Lee Hartman
Dept. of Foreign Languages
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4521
LL Issue: 9.51
Date posted: 15-Jan-1998


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