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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Rock-a-bye Baby is one of the best known lullabies of the English language.  Usually people only sing one verse (the 1st verse in the lyrics below).  Here’s a longer version that’s really sweet.  You can read the lyrics while listening to Frances Turnbull’s rendition below… MP3 of Long Version of Rock-a-bye Baby ...
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This seasonal recipe for Takikomi Gohan (mixed rice) was sent by Ayako Egawa in Japan.  Takikomi Gohan is made with rice and seasonal ingredients and is made to celebrate the changing season. Here’s Ayako’s note on the dish, along with her recipe… "Lisa is very curious about our food in Japan. So I’d like to...
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In the Spring, people in Japan traditionally view the cherry blossoms and picnic under the trees.  This is called Hanami.  When people view the blossoms by night, it’s called Yozakura.  At this time of year it can be cool at night so some people bring blankets, warm saki and body warmers.  Sadao sent me the...
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Here’s a video to hear animal sounds around the world… Bow Wow Meow – Animal Sounds in Different Languages from properniceinnit on Vimeo. The languages are: English, Mandarin, French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Hindi, Canadian-French, Romanian, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, Bengali, Brazilian-Portuguese, Colombian-Spanish, Swahili and Mongolian. Enjoy! Mama Lisa
Tamela wrote asking for help with a Danish poem her father recited.  Here’s her email: Hi, I am wondering if you can help me at all.  I am searching for the full words to an old Scandinavian children’s poem that my Danish father used to tell us. It is about three children, girls, on one farm meeting...
We have many versions of The Hearse Song on Mama Lisa’s World.  You can find one version here with a recording and a lot of other versions here.  I recently received yet another one, which has an interesting backstory.  Here’s the email I received from Ananda Patterson: This version is from my grandfather, who was born...
"Eh hen" is a phrase from Cameroon that serves many purposes.  Nyango sent the recording below to explain its meanings (some of which depend upon the intonation)… Recording about the Cameroonian Phrase "Eh hen" I listed the definitions below in the order that Nyango mentions them. Here are the meanings of "eh hen" in Cameroonian: 1. I’m shocked 2. I...
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I love Japanese haikus!  Here’s a haiku poem I came across while working on a song about Mt. Fuji. The poem was written by Kobayashi Issa in the Edo period… 蝸牛 そろそろ登れ 富士の山 English Translation: O snail, Climb Mt. Fuji, But slowly, slowly! Pronunciation: Katatsumuri Soro soro nobore Fuji no yama I think these prints by Utagawa Hiroshige go nicely...
Laura wrote asking for help with a Czech song.  Here’s her question: Dear Mama Lisa, I am trying to find out about an old Czech Song that our Uncle Bob would sing at the end of every visit as he would leave. He would put his finger on the top of his head and turn in a...
Here’s a video about testing to see if someone is a native Zulu speaker and also a demonstration of how to make the Zulu click consonants… Enjoy! Mama Lisa
Sanda wrote to us about Croatian lullabies… "If you are looking for real Croatian traditional lullabies, there is a CD of woman group singing klapa.  Klapa is traditional form of a capella singing from Dalmatia, on the Croatian coast. [Note from Mama Lisa: Klapa means, 'a group of friends'.  Harmony and melody is an important part...
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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Check out the song "I am the Wee Falorie Man" (with a recording) to get you in the mood… Today, I’m going to make a Guinness Stew since I had the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage yesterday at my Mom’s house. You can check out some Irish recipes, songs and poems here. I’ll leave...
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Día is a nationally recognized initiative that emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds. The Día! Diversity in Action 2014 Celebration is fast approaching, have you registered your program yet?  Register your Día Celebration in the 2013 Día National Program Registry to build a national database that showcases all types and...
Pascal from Frenchy Bunny shared some creative language learning tips with us.  You can read them below… I’m a self-taught guy, and I’ve learnt English with colors. No one ever suggested it to me, but I invented this trick to learn faster and make things easier and more fun. For learning vocabulary, I underlined nouns in...
Believe it or not one tool I’ve found to help language learning is Facebook.  Which is nice because so many people are already members.  If you’re a Facebook member and want to improve your knowledge of a language, I have two ideas for you: 1. Join Facebook Groups or Pages in your target language.  For example,...
Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl ad celebrates the diversity of America with people singing "America the Beautiful" in many different languages.  You can hear it below… The song was sung in English, Tagalog, Spanish, Hebrew, Hindi, Keres and Senegalese-French.
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Here’s a very little French tale called "Gâteau" by Jules Lemaître.  The story is about two kids trying to share cake.  It’s in French with an English translation and a French recording. MP3 of Gâteau On avait donné à deux enfants un gros gâteau et un petit, en leur disant: "Partagez !" Les deux enfants étaient une petite fille...
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Some English terms go back further than you’d think… -OMG The first recorded appearance of this breathless acronym for “Oh, my God!” comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill. (1917) -LITERALLY Word curmudgeons wince when “literally” is used figuratively. Examples of this inversion go back to 1769. Even Mark Twain did it. (1876) ...
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Emanuela wrote from Italy about St. Nicholas of Bari… "We celebrate St. Nicholas of Bari on December 6th. Our St. Nicholas is the Nicholas who is celebrated in northern Europe. St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey), but now his body is in Bari, Italy. European immigrants brought this character to America....
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Happy St. Nicolas’ Day! Here’s a link to info about the legend of St. Nick. Here’s a link to a Dutch St. Nick song with a recording:
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