Mama Lisa's World
International Music & Culture
A place for poems, songs, rhymes and traditions from around the world for both kids and grown-ups to enjoy!

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Articles about 'Languages'
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Gâteau d’omelettes (Omelet Cake) is a French dish made for brunch, picnics and buffets. It comprises of layers of thin omelets, alternated with ratatouille and tapenade. We present here a recipe shared by Monique from France.  We separated out the recipes for Ratatouille and Tapenade and then explained how to assemble the gateau. Regarding the […]
Can anyone help with the following question we received about an Italian song? "I have a question: I’d like to know if you can help me identify this song that one of the Italian grandparents would sing to my father-in-law. (They were from the area near Genoa/Luguria.)  I know neither the name nor the lyrics, […]
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Is pink a girl color in your country?  It is in the US!  Here’s a video that explains how it came about… Blue is considered a boy color. Please let us know in the comments below if there are any specific colors for boys or girls in your country. -Mama Lisa
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Most people associate summer with occasional lightening storms.  We found this wonderful Italian poem called Temporale Estivo - "Summer Lightening Storm" .  It was written by Federigo Tozzi (1883-1920).  Below you can listen to a recording of the poem while reading along with the Italian text, and an English translation. MP3 Recording of Temporale Estivo […]
Christina wrote asking for help with an Italian (Calabrese) rhyme.  Here’s her email… Hi Lisa, This rhyme has been recited to small children in our family at least since the early 20th century. My paternal grandfather’s parents came to the U.S. in 1913 from Falerna, Catanzaro. They left two children there and subsequently had four […]
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It’s always fun to read fables. They make you think of an earlier, simpler time. We think of fables as being for young children. However, a French teacher I recently spoke with told me that in France today, Jean de La Fontaine’s fables are mostly read by high school students.  That’s because the language is […]
Kirundi is a Bantu language spoken in Burundi, Tanzania, Congo-Kinshasa and Uganda. We were recently asked about Kirundi nursery rhymes (in the following note)… Hello; my name is Anyesi and was wondering if you could please send me the Nursery rhymes in Kirundi.  Thank you:) If anyone knows any Kirundi nursery rhymes, please share them […]
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We like to post seasonal poetry from around the world.  Now that summer’s here we’d like to share this French poem about summer that will heat you up! Below you’ll find the original French text to the poem Chaleur (Heat) by Anna de Noailles with a recording and an English translation. MP3 Recording of the […]
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It’s always great to celebrate the seasons with poetry! The poem Noche de verano (Summer Night) is a lovely poem we’ve chosen to share now that summer is finally here.  It was written by Spanish poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939). Below you can listen to a recording of the poem while reading the original Spanish text […]
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Monique grew up eating Tortilla de patatas (potato omelet).  The recipe was passed down from her grandma to her mother. Tortilla de patatas is a type of potato omelet from Spain.  Tortilla in Spain is different from tortilla in Mexico and South America (where it’s a thin flatbread). Tortilla originally meant small cake.  Tortilla de […]
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Printemps (Springtime) is a lovely French poem written by Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885).  Below you can hear the poem recited and follow along with the original French text and an English translation… MP3 of Printemps by Victor Hugo Printemps Voici donc les longs jours, lumière, amour, délire ! Voici le printemps ! mars, avril […]
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Playing real video games for fun is a great way to improve your foreign language skills. I’m talking about games you’d want to play in your own language, not specifically language learning games. There are many fun games that are available in many different languages. I’m an early advanced French learner, so I understand enough […]
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Knock-knock jokes can be found all over the world.  They have a simple formula.  In English, they start with, "Knock, knock!" As if someone’s knocking on the door.  The answer is almost always, "Who’s there?" Then the joke proceeds with a play on words.  Here’s a good example: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? […]
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Flashcards are a good way to pick up new vocabulary in a foreign language. It’s good to use them as a supplement to other resources, because if you only use flashcards, you’ll get bored very quickly! There are three flashcard apps I’ve been using over the past couple of months to help expand my French […]
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Mamá te quiero mucho (Mommy, I Love You So Much) is a nice little new dual-language (Spanish/English) book that was just released!  It accompanies a wonderful song that singer/songwriter Sara Quintanar has shared with us in the past (here).  The book also includes a score to the song. Here’s a page from the book that […]
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Quirky Press has just released a new dual-language (Somali/English) book of 14 Somali Lullabies.  It includes a CD of the songs sung in Somali by Maryan Anshur.   Karin at Quirky Press was kind enough to share a recording of one of the lullabies with us!  You can hear it below and read along with the […]
Dominique wrote asking about an Italian rhyme her mother recited: "I’m looking for a rhyme that my mom would sing to my children, it went something like: ‘Zampe, zampette (or zampine), zampone, zampette, che di prete fu portati prete dice cosa son queste: zampe’. This was said while moving the baby’s feet. My mom was […]
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Have you ever considered where the generic dog names Fido, Rover and Spot come from? These are the canine equivalent of "John Doe".  Did you know that one was a President’s dog, another the 1st movie star dog, and the last, a dog from a book that helped kids learn to read for over 40 […]
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Watch Darth Vader say, "I am your father" to Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars movie in 20 different languages (as dubbed in the movies).  You can see a list of the languages with their voice actors below the video. Languages and Voice Actors: English (Original) – James Earl Jones Spanish (1980) – Isidro Olace […]
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  "The Moon-Baby" is a pretty poem that can be read or sung to young children before bedtime. The Moon-Baby There’s a beautiful golden cradle That rocks in the rose-red sky; I have seen it there in the evening air Where the bats and beetles fly, With little white clouds for curtains And pillows of […]

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