Can Someone Help with a Rhyme of Unknown Origin?

Josiah wrote  asking for help with a rhyme you do while touching the parts of the face:

I have been on a quest for my mother to help identify a thing that my great grandma did with babies when she was holding them. After tons of Internet searching trying to find individual words i did a generic search for kid rhymes across the world. I stumbled across your site and immediately fell in love. You have things i forgot about and things i ever knew half of. After bookmarking your site for future parental needs, I scrolled through lots of languages searching for what i needed, but couldn’t find it. I searched through blogs until i gave up and decided to write you to see if you would respond or be able to help.

My great grandma was never forthcoming about her family history. We know she came to America very early in childhood (early 1900’s). We do not know the original language. I have written phonetically (the best i could) what she said as well as what she did. I believe the language is in the Western Germanic group, but can’t be positive. I would love to figure out where we are from, or get closer to the answer.

Badja- she would touch baby’s chin
Myla/myila (?)- she would touch baby’s mouth/lips
Begula/begula- she would touch each of baby’s cheeks
Nedja- she would touch baby’s nose
Eggla (?)/oogla- she would touch each of baby’s eyes/eyelids
Stenja- she would touch baby’s forehead
Soop soop da henja- she would run her fingers through baby’s hair/ over scalp

After hours online i have only found one other reference. It was a blog where the lady was reminiscing about her grandma. She said when she was a kid, her grandma would pinch her nose and say “soop soop da henja”, but there were no clues to language or origin. This also puts a wrench in gears of thinking any of the last part meant hair or head.

I’m sorry i was long winded, but i wanted to be thorough with all the information i could. Thank you for your time while reading this, and any response i may receive. Fingers crossed.


If anyone can help, please comment below.

Thanks in advance!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 8:12 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes about the Face, Questions, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses to “Can Someone Help with a Rhyme of Unknown Origin?”

  1. Dominic Phillips Says:

    maybe Slavic?

  2. Dominic Phillips Says:

    It’s a Slavic language

  3. bobbi Says:

    In the book The Windmill Turning: Nursery Rhymes, Maxims, and Other Expressions of Western Canadian Mennonites by Victor Carl Friesen, on page 61, there is a nursery game called little rooster. According to the book it is in the language of Plautdietsch. It goes as follows:

    Kjenntje, multje
    Oogtje, brontje
    Back enn nas
    Shiep, shiep, mien hontje

    Translates as:
    Little chin, little mouth
    Little eye, little brow
    Cheek and nose
    Cheep cheep my little rooster.

    I know it is not exact, but i believe it is close enough to be considered the same rhyme. It may help your search, and may give mama lisa a new category. Face games, or little rooster to collect in many languages. I hope this helps someone.

  4. Lisa Says:

    Thank you Bobbi! We are actually working on a collection of Face Games right now and would love to add it!

  5. josiah Says:

    Thank you all for the help and information. It is nice knowing exactly what was being said and the name of the game. Hopefully i can get one step closer and someone will find this and know which dialect of the slavik language it is. I have tried searching in light of this new information and the language is too diverse for a novice like me to find. I do believe you all though and will assume i am of slavik decent.

  6. Lisa Says:

    Josiah – It’s also possible that what your great grandma said was yet another version of the same rhyme possibly in another dialect or language. There are many rhymes that travel around Europe so-to-speak.

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