Can Someone Help with a Dutch or Frisian Children’s Song?

Chris sent me this email:

Greetings! Google led me to your website when I was looking for help. I hope this request doesn’t end up being too difficult!

I’m not a fluent Dutch speaker (in fact, I know very little Dutch at all beyond the basics). But my grandmother is the daughter of a Dutch immigrant, and she was raised as an “American Dutch girl” in Iowa.

She just celebrated her 94th birthday, and we’ve seen a decline in her mental faculties over the last decade or so. But one thing she still remembers – are the old children’s songs that she heard as a girl from her father. She remembered the song well enough that she could even sing it to my two-month-old daughter when we came to visit!

Unfortunately, because of her mental condition, she would not be able to write the song down. But she dictated the original words (along with what I think is a non-literal English translation) to my mother, who did her best to write down the Dutch sounds phonetically. We have no idea if her phonetic words are even close to the original Dutch words.

Another complication: the language might not actually be Dutch, but Frisian, since her father came to Iowa from Ternaard, in Friesland. But if it’s possible, I’d like to find the original words to the song, as well as a more literal English translation. Here goes our best attempt at writing down the song:

Original Dutch (?):

Suza nona Popkin
Kelta lyin gropka
Mam in huis Sofear van hoos
See caneet verrupke

English gloss:

Just a little calf, there
Lying in the straw there
Mother and father so far from the house
They can’t hear him crying.

Thanks in advance for any direction you can provide!

Best regards,

:Chris

If anyone can help out Chris, please comment below.

Thanks in advance!

Lisa

This article was posted on Saturday, June 7th, 2008 at 10:05 pm and is filed under Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, Dutch, Dutch Children's Songs, Friesland, Frisian, Languages, Netherlands, Questions, Readers Questions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 Responses to “Can Someone Help with a Dutch or Frisian Children’s Song?”

  1. wopke Says:

    Fries: (something like this)
    Suja deine poppe
    Jeltje in de groppe
    Heit en mem sa vier von huus
    Ken use Jeltje net beroppe

    English:
    Rock your baby
    Jeltje (a girl) in the ditch
    Father and Mother are so far from home
    Cannot call our Jeltje

  2. Leon van den Berg Says:

    Hello,

    This seems like a song from frysland. And thats a difficult dialect. If you want to have some old dutch songs i might have some lyrics for you.

    Just send me a mail lh_vanden_berg@hotmail.com

  3. Lisa Says:

    We would love to receive some old Dutch songs, preferably with English translations. We already have some Dutch songs at http://www.mamalisa.com/world/holland.html – but are always happy to add more!

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    -Mama Lisa

  4. wopke Says:

    Fries:
    Suja deine poppe
    Jeltje (?Kjeltje) in de groppe
    Heit en mem sa vier von huus
    Ken uuse Jeltje(?Kjeltje) net beroppe

    English:
    Rock your baby
    Jeltje(=a girl) or (Kjeltje=calf) in the ditch
    Father and Mother are so far from home
    Cannot call our Jeltje (?Kjeltje)

    PS. Contact the Frieske Academie in Franeker, Friesland, Holland for more accurate details.

  5. Henk Says:

    This is a rather well-known nursery rhyme in Friesland, written in Frisian. There are many variations, but I will give you the text I as I used to sing it:

    Suze, nanepoppe
    Kealtsje yn ‘e groppe
    Heit en mem sa fier fan hûs
    ‘k kin se net beroppe

    It can be translated as:
    Suze = Quiet (as said to children)
    nanepoppe = cradle-baby
    kealtsje = litte calf
    yn ‘e groppe = in the ditch (more specifically: manure-ditch)
    heit en mem = mom’ and dad
    sa fier fan hûs = so far from home
    ‘k = I
    kin = can
    se = them
    net = not
    beroppe = reach by calling

    A rough translation of the entire song might look like:

    Quiet now, you little baby
    little calf lying in the ditch
    with your father and mother so far away
    that they can’t even hear you calling

    The song is written in Frisian. This is the variant I as I learnt it, but there are many variations.

    (I used to work for the Akademy, and it’s in Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, not in Franeker, and most certainly nowhere near the Holland provinces.)

  6. Glenn Says:

    I think that I can be of some help. I’m living in the Netherlands in the city of Zwolle in the province of Overijssel and there they have a song about: Elsje Fiederelsje. I’m working on a project for school right now for my english lessons and I stumbled upon this page so I thought maybe I can be of some help.

    If you have some questions about The Netherlands just mail and I will be glad to help

  7. Mary Lynne Says:

    Henk:
    You sound like you know your Fries songs, so I’ll ask you about the rhyme my Frisian grandfather used to sing when he bounced me on my knee. I have no idea how to spell most Frisian words so I’m going to write them phonetically in English. My family is Dutch, but I only speak a tiny bit of the language, and no Fries.

    Here it is:
    Hop hop hinkje
    yo et op de snicke
    snitz op de reetes breer
    you et op de louses der

    Any ideas? Something about horses. and maybe lice?

  8. gerrit Says:

    can anyone out there help me find all the words to a song my freis dad would sing to us kids,went like this.you will not come out of the house tonight because your pants are ripped and your shirt hangs out ??

  9. Henk Says:

    Hello Mary Lynne,

    Sorry for the late reply, I haven’t visited this site for quite some time. Yes, I do know the song. As with ‘Suze, nanepoppe’, there are quite a number of variations. I will give you two versions I know of. The second one is probably closest to yours.

    Hop hop, hynke,
    nei Ljouwert om in skinke,
    nei Snits ta om in hynsteblom,
    dan gean’ wy nei Dokkum werom.

    Hop hop, hynke,
    nei Ljouwert om in skinke,
    nei Snits ta om in wite brea,
    sa gean’ alle hynderkes dea.

    Hop hop = come on! on you go!
    hynke = horsie (children’s name for a horse)
    nei Ljouwert ta om in skinke = on to Ljouwert for a ham
    nei Snits ta om in hynsteblom = on to Snits for a dandelion (litt. horse flower)
    dan gean’ wy nei Dokkum werom = then we return to Dokkum

    nei Snits ta om in wite brea = on to Snits for a loaf of white bread
    sa gean’ alle hynderkes dea = that is the way all horses die

    Ljouwert, Snits and Dokkum are Frisian cities.

  10. Henk Says:

    I have tried to figure out what your last line could mean, but it is hard to tell.

    you et op de louses der

    ‘you et’ may be the city of Ljouwert or ‘hjoed’ (today) or ‘leauwer’ (rather)
    ‘op de’ may be ‘hopkes’ (another children’s name for horses), ‘op de’ (on the) or perhaps ‘alle’ (all the)
    ‘louses’ may be ‘Ljouwerters’ (inhabitants of Ljouwert)
    ‘der’ may be ‘dea’ (dead)
    The only combinations that make some sense to me is: ‘leauwer alle Ljouwerters dea’ (I’d rather see all the inhabitants of Ljouwert dead) or ‘hjoed alle Ljouwerters dea’ (today all inhabitants of Ljouwert (are) dead). In many versions of the song something or someone is killed or dies in the last line, so perhaps this is right, but it is hard to tell.

  11. Marianne Kuiper Milks Says:

    Holland has few children’s songs in the minor key, but here are two:

    Allen die willen naar Iesland gaan,
    om kabeljouw te vangen en te vissen met verlangen,
    Naar Ieseland, naar Ieseland, naar Iesland to,
    Na twee-en-dertig reizen zijn ze nog niet moe

    Meaning in English:
    All those who’re wishing to go to Iceland ,
    To catch some whiting and go fishing filled with longing,
    To Iceland, to Iceland, to Iceland:
    after thitry two journeys they are still not tired!

    Another:
    “Boerinneke van buiten
    en heeft gij gene vis?”
    “Welnee mijn, Amelietje,
    ik weet niet wat dit is!”

    ‘tIs haring, ‘t is paling
    ‘t is lekker kabeljouw-jouw-jouw
    ‘tIs haring, ’tis paling,
    ‘t is lekker kabeljouw!

    “Little farmgirl from the country-side,
    do’t you have any fish?”
    “Well, no, my Amelie, I don’t know what this is!”

    “It’s herring, it’s eel, it’s yummy whiting!
    It’s herring, it’s eel, it’s yummy whiting!”

    A Dutch round I loved as a child: (still do)

    Avondstilte overal.
    Aan de beek de nachtegaal strooit er zijn zangen, zacht, vol verlangen, door het dal.

    Evening silence ev’rywhere.
    By the creek, the nightingale sprinkles his songs, so filled with longing, through the valley.

  12. Monique Says:

    Marianne, I found the lyrics to the first song you mentioned here and the others there. Would you mind translating them for us so that we can post them on Mama Lisa’s World Netherland page, please?

  13. Joanne Says:

    Hi, I was also wondering about a song my father – from Texel in the Netherlands sang to me and then to my kids when we were small, while bouncing on his knee. I never did learn to speak to Dutch so I am probably butchering phonetically what the song was. I just remember it was something about fair maidens and a cart and my memory of the words isn’t that great but it went something like …

    Kep ma lagen? da da da da full of youngen maitiens – da da da da, da da da da, I know it ended with hup pietcha hup, hup peitcha hup… we loved that part when we were little because we’d get bounced. I know that’s not very much to go on but if anyone knows the song and perhaps an English translation I would love to hear it; thanks

  14. marleen Says:

    To Joanne, while reading your description I think you mean: “Ik heb mijn wagen volgeladen”
    The lyrics in Dutch and the (rickety) translation:
    ‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met oude wijven
    Toen ze op de markt kwamen begonnen zij te kijven
    Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
    Geen oude wijven op mijn wagen
    Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

    ‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met oude mannen
    Toen ze op de markt kwamen gingen ze samenspannen
    Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
    Geen oude mannen op mijn wagen
    Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

    ‘k Heb mijn wagen volgeladen vol met jonge meisjes
    Toen ze op de markt kwamen zongen zij als sijsjes
    Nu neem ik van mijn levensdagen
    Steeds jong meisjes op mijn wagen
    Hop paardje hop, Hop paardje hop

    I have loaded my wagon with old wives,
    When they came to the market they started to scold
    Now I will never in my life
    take old wives on my wagon
    Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

    I have loaded my wagon with old men
    When we came to the marlet they started to conspire
    Now I will never in my life
    take old men on my wagon
    Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

    I have loaded my wagon with youg girls
    When we came to the market they started to sing like birds
    Now I will take all my life
    only young girls on my wagon
    Go horsey, go. Go horsey, go

    The melody you can hear on youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZohXkuWzGI

  15. marleen Says:

    To Gerrit

    I have found one entry at Google about this rhyme.

    This is it:
    Jantje wou klimmen
    al over een hek
    hij scheurde zijn broekie
    en brak haast z’n nek
    hij draafde naar huis toe
    en riep aan de deur
    O moeder m’n broekie is gescheurd
    en m’n hempie hangt er uit

    Dekselse jongen wat hebbie nou gedaan
    je zondagse broek is geheel naar de maan
    jij komp vanavond de deur niet meer uit
    want je broekie is gescheurd
    en je hempie hangter uit

    Little John wanted to climb
    up a fence
    He ripped his pants
    and almost broke his neck
    He ran back home
    and called at the door
    Oh mother, mijn pants are ripped and my
    shirt hangs out!

    You bad boy what did you do
    Your best pants are completely ruined
    You will not come out of the house tonight,
    because your pants are ripped
    and your shirt hangs out.

  16. Bethany Says:

    Does anyone know where I can get some basic children’s books in Frisian? My husband’s family is from Fryslan and I would like our daughter to learn some Frisian words. I am in Canada so I would need a company that ships to Canada.

    Thank you so much,

    Bethany Weening

  17. Maarten Says:

    @Bethany: Contacting Afuk (publisher/seller) Would be the quickest, I think. You can find their website at Afuk.nl

  18. Thomas Says:

    Hi I have a song that was sung to me by my Grandmother who was a Dutch Fries and it goes like this (I cannot speak Frisian or Dutch so I’ll try)

    Hop sa patcha
    Hop sa patcha
    Dat gaat sohne rohne maart
    Rohne mart ist paremart
    ovalopide patchers haart

    Does anyone have any idea the rest of the song or the name? And whether it’s Frisian or Dutch?

  19. Afke Says:

    Hi Thomas, I just found this site when I was looking for the text to a song I am singinh to my youngest son (hop hop nynke). I don’t recognise the song you are looking for, but the first words sound like “hopsa paardje” which is something along the lines of “on you go little horse”. Let me know if you remember more words and I can look online.

  20. Gerrit Walstra Says:

    Reacting on the latest message and Henk; the variation I know goes like this:

    hop, hop hynke,
    nei Ljouwert om in pinke,
    nei Snits ta om in wyte brea,
    jeie w’alle hynders dea,
    op ien nei, op twa nei,
    op ús lytse kedde nei,
    wêr ús famke op ride mei.
    (Wêr hinne, nei pake, nei beppe,
    beppe stiet al yn’e doar,
    mei har wyte skelkje foar).

    See also online, audio:
    http://www.liederenbank.nl/liedpresentatie.php?zoek=74110
    My version differs a little bit from the one you can hear. At home my mom did not sing/know the part between brackets.

    In translation:
    Come on little horse,
    to Ljouwert (Leeuwarden) for a yearling/heifer,
    to Snits (Sneek) for a white loaf,
    then we ride fast all horses to death,
    except one, except two, except our little pony,
    where our young daughter may ride.
    Where to, to granddad, to granny.
    Granny is already on the doorstep
    wearing her white apron.

    Is there a deeper layer qua significance? No idea.
    It is a Frisian children’s song, usually the todler sitting astride on mommy’s/daddy’s/granddad/granny’s lap, moving up and down, sung by the (grand)parents.
    Ljouwert (Leeuwarden in Dutch) is the capital of Friesland, Snits (Sneek) is the second largest city of the province.
    Pinke is a young cow 1-2 years old, usually for the first time in-calf.
    Jeie, to pronounce as yaaye, is riding as fast as possible.
    Kedde or kêde is a small horse, something between a horse and a pony.

  21. fauxmaven Says:

    My daughter just married a man who is Friesian and I would like to find some simple books from the EU and have them mailed in the EU as shipping is much less! They are living in Sweden. I tried website but it is not correct.

  22. Frede Humphreys Says:

    Reading all these old questions and comments, started crying when i discovered someone looking for ” suse naene poppe “. Our mem sang that for us too… My sister here from Friesland visiting for a month, we are old and very sentimental. I have lived here 50 years in N.J. but still speak and write ” frysk “. When visiting in Friesland, no one detects i have only spoken English since 1965. We were looking for more old songs, creating small embroidery scenes for all the big and little children, with their birth dates and words of the song written on the back. Greetings to all.

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