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Why English rhymes contain negative things?

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by kishoremommy, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. kishoremommy

    kishoremommy Platinum IL'ite

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    I use to play rhymes ,both English and Tamil for my 17 month old son .My husband pointed out that English rhymes contain lots of negative things.
    Some of them are,

    1.Jack be nimble ---jack jumps over the candle stick.A bad example.

    2.Johnny Johnny ----Johnny telling lies.

    3.Jack and Jill ----- Jack falls down and breaks his crown.

    4.Goosey Goosey Gander ----- the goose pushes the old man from stairs.

    5.Rain Rain --------telling the rain to go away.Not suitable for Indians.

    6.Humpty dumpty ------He falls from the wall and breaks into pieces.

    7.London bridge---falling down.build with silver and gold and lock her up

    8.Cock-a doodle-do---the master and the dame looses their things.

    9.Ding dong bell----cat in the well.

    10.Solomon Grundy----Dies and gets buried.

    On the contrary our Tamil rhymes contain 99 percent positive things.

    Friends,please share your views.
     
    sindmani likes this.
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  2. Arunarc

    Arunarc Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello Kishore

    It depends on how you take it.
    I can't remember the 1st poem as it has been ages I have crossed that age of teaching my kid.
    I will tell you for the 2nd one, you only saw that johnny is telling lies. what about the remaining poem..... becoz he is telling lies as a parent he can understand that Johnny is telling lies so next time not to say so, or parents will catch hold of them.

    Jack and jill........ went up the hill and he met with this accident, right....
    In this you can see that both of them are kids, so on they part it is a mistake of them to go on they own, they should have accompanied with someone elder, so this accident took place. It depends on each ones imagination.

    My dear these are just poems for the kids to have some fun, not to see if it is negative or postive in that. It depends upon how you see into it. I am sure even if you see deeply into those tamil poems you will find some negative points. I am not here to argue. What i am trying to tell is let the kids enjoy.

    I cannot comment on tamil poems as I don't know any tamil poems.
     
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear KM
    Basically a child's perception is far different from that of the grown-ups. A child cannot even perceive evil as evil because its innocence is like a rose-tinted glass that enables it to look at everything as rosy and cheerful. Most of us have recited the ten rhymes that you have quoted any number of times in our childhood. When we sang of Jill coming tumbling after, someone invariably imitated it and we all laughed uncontrollably. That all these rhymes have negative connotation may occur to an elder but not to a child who revels in them. Further, children take these rhymes as pure fun and soon outgrow them. I have not come across a child who keeps brooding over the gander that threw the old man down the stairs until he reaches my age! As a child, it taught me that there was a punishment for not saying my prayers.

    Nursery rhymes with all their negative content are a source of great jollity at an age when they are sung with gusto. We do not sing them at an age when we are inclined to do research about them. Further, whatever negative effects these rhymes have are just a fraction of the negative effects of the TV serials that we enjoy with our children! We make them sing 'Kola veri di' and enjoy it immensely. A couple of days back, I was appalled to see Sonu Nigam's child singing it in You Tube!

    A falling London bridge is not going to make a villain of a growing child. Most of the juvenile delinquents cite some film or a serial as the inspiration for their criminal tendency. I am yet to come across any of them citing a nursery rhyme as the motivator of their crime!
    Sri
     
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  4. bhuvnidhi

    bhuvnidhi IL Hall of Fame

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    Even I used to wonder the same.I feel English rhymes mostly do not have a moral or message to say.On contrary , I heard a lot of Tamil rhymes which have good message in it.Sometimes we do not realize and treasure what we have.But the sad part is others could advertise or project their own work effectively.But we do not project ourselves neither we value ourselves.
     
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  5. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    Kishoremommy,

    some time back there was thread discussing the same topic in the parenting or may be even in education forum - I tried looking up, but could not locate it! It was an interesting discussion. That said, I have to confess - I have enjoyed the nursery rhymes more than my kids while teaching them and as an adult could look at all of them with a new perspective. Like Cheeniya sir mentions, kids at that age hardly can differentiate between all these emotions we go through as adults. While we want to teach morals to our kids, most of the times our kids are learning by observing what we are doing - probably they are more focused on our voices and the joy in them when we sing to them than the meaning!

    Anyways, like I said, I had also contributed to that thread I mentioned earlier and one of the facts that I remembered was that history and the living conditions then apparently played a big role in how these were stories were rhymed. So I googled and here is an interesting website that I found Nursery Rhymes lyrics, origins and history I am sure more googling will throw more light on this subject. I personally find it fascinating.

    So do enjoy and continue singing to your little one - that is so fulfilling for you and your child!
     
    sindmani, mikku and Cheeniya like this.
  6. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    kishoremommy,

    I wanted to say .. well here again..the argument continues...

    yes this is one of the most debated topics when it comes to rhymes. again as cheeniyasir,Aruna have observed it is all about perception.

    most of the rhymes, be it tamil, english or hindi are based on some incidents,or way of life. if you delve into reasons, or look up for reasons, you will be surprised at the speculations around all these rhymes...

    There is always a little more evolution of a story,rhyme over a period. do you think all the rhymes taught or sung carry the original compositions no..they have evolved..

    Have you heard a lullaby in tamil..yaar adichaaro....maami adichaalo..mai idum kaiyaale. it goes on so and., does it mean that they all are going to hit the baby, it was the folk way of teaching the baby all the relations..

    Coming to the present day logical reasoning, let us take rain rain go away,we would not allow kids to play in the rain, and as a child, the child would definitely want the rain to go away..

    Jack and jill went up the hill, jack fell down, brok...jill came tumbling after..you can go ahead and teach your child that they were in together, that when jack fell down and got hurt, jill did not leave him to tackle on his own she came tumbling after to help him..(after all what else can a kiddo do,,when you are coming downhill..tumble).

    sometimes it is just rhyming and easy on the tongue of a child, other times, there is more than fun, sometimes it looks bad ..why do we need to look at the evil, let us look at the positives, or the positives you can teach your kids..

    i always say this (i am sure if you search this site would throw my user id more number of times for this) that kids observe and absorb and act..so why do we need to find faults with english rhymes alone, all languages have their plus and minus..so do their rhymes and everything else..

    Enjoy how they act out and sing these rhymes in their childish accent...
     
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  7. kishoremommy

    kishoremommy Platinum IL'ite

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    Thanks for sharing your views.I just wanted to point out the lesser emotional values of English people compared to our country.I personally never like the idea of falling,rolling,getting hurt.

    And regarding the famous Tamil thalaatu song "Athai adichaaro arali poo chendaaley, maama adichaaro malligai poo chendaaley ",

    Athai is father's sister. so ,arali poo.

    maama is mother's brother. so,malligai poo.

    What a expression of feelings?
     
  8. kishoremommy

    kishoremommy Platinum IL'ite

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    Friends,Six months have passed after I posted this thread.

    I stumbled upon some interesting facts about the English rhymes.

    Let me share them with you one by one.

    I always welcome your views and contradictions.
     
  9. kishoremommy

    kishoremommy Platinum IL'ite

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    Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
    Jack fell down and broke his crown
    And Jill came tumbling after.

    This is the version we Indians are singing for years.

    The roots of the story, or poem, of Jack and Jill are in France. Jack and Jill referred to are said to be King Louis XVI - Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette - Jill - (who came tumbling after). The words and lyrics to the Jack and Jill poem were made more acceptable as a story for children by providing a happy ending! The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins
     
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  10. kishoremommy

    kishoremommy Platinum IL'ite

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    Mary Mary quite contrary,
    How does your garden grow?
    With silver bells and cockle shells
    And pretty maids all in a row.

    The Mary alluded to in this traditional English nursery rhyme is reputed to be Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and the garden referred to is an allusion to graveyards which were increasing in size with those who dared to continue to adhere to the Protestant faith - Protestant martyrs.

    The silver bells and cockle shells referred to in the Nursery Rhyme were colloquialisms for instruments of torture. The 'silver bells' were thumbscrews which crushed the thumb between two hard surfaces by the tightening of a screw. The 'cockleshells' were believed to be instruments of torture which were attached to the genitals!

    The 'maids' were a device to behead people called the Maiden.
     

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