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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Season’s greetings! At Mama Lisa’s World there’s no time of year we love better than the holidays! We’re happy to announce that we’ve recently added the following Christmas Carols to Mama Lisa’s World with mp3 recordings and YouTube videos: Italian Dormi, dormi, bel Bambin (Sleep, Sleep Beautiful Child) Tu scendi dalle stelle (You Come Down […]
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Ray Lee, who grew up in Hong Kong, wrote, "We played all these when we were kids… The bottom right is Chinese Chess. Adults play that too. The other three are for kids. They don’t really have English names. Top left is 鬥獸棋 (Jungle). It’s like chess in that there are two opposing players/sides and […]
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Sadao Mazuka wrote to us from Japan about Japanese idiomatic expressions about cats.  Here’s his email: Hi Lisa, I was very much interested in your blog post, “Animal Names used as Terms of Endearment” that was written by Monique. I don’t think we have any phrases about a child or spouse with a connection like […]
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Here’s a beautiful chart that illustrates the relationships between many Western languages.  It was created by Minna Sundberg.   You can see a larger version here and you can buy it here.
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Beatrix Potter is the beloved English children’s author and illustrator best known for her book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit".  She also wrote the poem, "We Have a Little Garden".  It comes from her book, "Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes".  You can read the rhyme below and listen along with the cute recording by Super Coconut.  […]
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Monique wrote from France about terms of endearment used in French, Spanish and English that use Animal names… In French, we use many animals names as endearment words.  We use: Mon poussin (my chick) Mon poulet (my chicken) Ma poule/poulette (my hen/little hen – mostly for girls) Ma cocotte (my hen – cocotte is baby […]
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Monique wrote from France about a cool "emoticon" she uses when corresponding with her friends. Here’s her email: In French, "à demain" (see you tomorrow) sounds like "à 2 mains" (with two hands).  That’s why when someone tells you "à demain" you may answer "à deux pieds" (with two feet) as a joke.  This all […]
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Mama Lisa’s World now has a search box!  You can search for songs, rhymes, poems, recipes and traditions.  You can search for specific languages, countries and cultures. You can search for a particular word… like "apple" or "train".  You can even put two or three words in… like "French Apple Song". We hope you find […]
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The creepy Hearse Song (The Worms Crawl In) is very popular at Halloween time. There are many versions. Here’s one with a recording. You can find more Halloween Songs on Mama Lisa’s World. Enjoy! Mama Lisa Image: Thanks to Gracie Gralike for the great drawing!
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There are lots of beautiful old photos of Japan online.  Check them out at the link!
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We have over 150 German Songs on Mama Lisa’s World with translations.  We were recently asked which ones are popular for children. Here’s a list of the best-known German kids songs that was shared by a German friend.  Each song is linked to its lyrics page with a translation… Alle meine Entchen Alle Vögel sind […]
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Monique and I have been adding a lot of Drop the Handkerchief Games to Mama Lisa’s World.  This got Monique thinking about the actual meaning of handkerchief in different languages.  Here are some of her thoughts… "I was thinking about the word for handkerchief in some languages and it’s funny what they literally mean. In […]
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The word "lagniappe" is really fantastic.  It’s a small gift given from a merchant to a customer who’s buying something. "Lagniappe" comes from the Quechua word "yapa". We have some restaurants near us that give dessert as a lagniappe.  It produces a kind of "oooh" effect when you receive it, precisely because you weren’t expecting […]
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"Pumpkin, Pumpkin" is a cute little song that’s sung to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".  It’s perfect for October and Halloween. You can watch the video below and read along with the lyrics. Pumpkin, Pumpkin 1. Pumpkin, pumpkin on the ground 2. How’d you get so big and round? 3. Once you were […]
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Can you believe that the American song "Yankee Doodle" is the music that played at the start of the revolution that lead to an Imperial Japan? ‘Yankee Doodle" is a song from prerevolutionary America. The British used it to mock the American Colonists. Then the Americans turned around and proudly claimed the song as their […]
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Did you ever wonder whether specific proverbs and idiomatic expressions are still used in the English language?  Here I discuss some phrases that begin with the letter "A" and how well-known they are.  These proverbs are specifically about animals.  They can be found on the site The Phrase Finder.  The discussion here is specially from […]
Joann wrote asking for help with a song she’s researching for a 90 year old friend.  Here’s her letter: Do you know of a song sung years ago in the USA, but possibly of Welsh in origin with the phrase, "Terunden, teroden"? The lady is in her mid-nineties, she gave more words but didn’t have […]
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Wynken, Blynken and Nod is a beloved bedtime poem about sailing in the sky in a wooden shoe and fishing for the stars.  The names "Wynken", "Blynken" and "Nod" represent a child’s sleepy eyes and head.  The wooden shoe symbolizes his bed.  He dreams of the stars while his mother sings him to sleep.  This […]
Bob Anderson wrote looking for help with a Swedish childhood rhyme.  Here’s his question: Do you know of a children’s verse my dad (born 1879) used to do with the grandkids?  He would bounce them on his knees, holding their hands, and at the climax, open his knees and drop them down as if to […]
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"The Swing" is a poem that describes something all kids have thought of while swinging… What if I went really high up on the swing? What would I see? You can read "The Swing" below and listen to a wonderful recording of it. It was recited by a boy named Willy.  MP3 Recording of The […]

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