Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

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Speakeasy
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Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:04 pm

For Amusement Only
Okay, this is NOT a serious post. Still, I am quite sure that I am not the only person to have experienced the following phenomenon and, for amusement, I thought that you might like to share your own anecdotes. Here goes:

Marziedotes-n-doziedotes
When I was a small boy, my father would rock my younger sister on his knee, all the while singing softly to her, what I understood to be: “Marziedotes-n-doziedotes ‘n liddle lamzy divey. A kiddldee-dyvee-do, wouldn’t you?” Time passed, we grew older, and my father ceased singing this little rhyme. Then, about 30 years later, whilst watching a late-night re-run of an old Bing Crosby film from the 1940’s, I heard the star character sing the same little song. However, his rendition was: “Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kiddle-dee, dyvee-do, wouldn’t you?” And it struck me, so THAT was what dad had been singing! Both my parents were raised in England, they spoke with fairly strong accents, and they imported with them “tonnes” of amusing little rhymes and colloquialisms from their homeland that I never heard outside of our family home. At times, these appeared to me to be a jumble of nonsensical words or indecipherable sounds. And yet, as in the previous example, many years later, I would come across more understandable versions and I reacted with the same sense of surprise and pleasure.

Your Experiences?
I’d bet my bottom dollar that you have had similar experiences from your own childhood and I thought that you might like to share a few anecdotes. The language in which this occurred is of no importance at all. For me, the more interesting aspect is how, as children, we perceive some rhymes and how, as adults, we react with surprise and pleasure many years later when we finally figure out what our parents had been saying. So, have at it!
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby rdearman » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:10 pm

Hey! I know that song. heheh... cool!
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby emk » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:30 pm

Speakeasy wrote:Your Experiences?
I’d bet my bottom dollar that you have had similar experiences from your own childhood and I thought that you might like to share a few anecdotes. The language in which this occurred is of no importance at all. For me, the more interesting aspect is how, as children, we perceive some rhymes and how, as adults, we react with surprise and pleasure many years later when we finally figure out what our parents had been saying. So, have at it!

Great post! I love these little linguistic phenomena.

When I was young, I learned O Tannenbaum by rote, with no idea what the actual German meant (except that it presumably more-or-less matched the popular English translation). But many years later, in a high school German class, I was singing that song from memory, and I had the incredibly weird sensation of suddenly understanding the lyrics that I was singing by rote. Wie grün sind deine blätter, indeed!

I've long suspected that some kind of rote sound memory—the same kind of sound memory that allows you to sing Top 40 lyrics you don't quite understand—must play some sort of important role in language learning. To me, it feels almost as if the brain learns the sounds first, and then waits for some context that allows it to assign meaning to those sounds.
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:56 pm

Except for the occasional "Gesundheit!", nothing but English was ever spoken in my boyhood home. Except.
Somehow I was taught, by my Mother I suppose, the French song, "Frère Jacques." You know, the one that goes, "Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques, dormez-vous, dormez-vous?" I also learned/knew what the song meant. Perhaps my Mother told me. But I have never heard the song in English translation, and how odd it would sound if I did!

Where did my Mother hear that song? When did this French song pass into English-speaking, American culture?

Or was I the only kid who heard and learned this song? I can still sing it today, except one line was corrupted to "Solley, molley, tina" ("Sonnez les matines").
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Speakeasy
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:06 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote:I can still sing it today, except one line was corrupted to "Solley, molley, tina" ("Sonnez les matines").

I LOVE IT! We were taught to sing a "phonetic version" of "Frère Jacques" by our unilingual English teacher in elemtary school. My recollection of the refrain was something like "sunny-mama-teena". Many -- many -- years later, my Québécoise wife began spontaneously singing the song. She was a little taken aback by my rendition.

emk wrote:I've long suspected that some kind of rote sound memory—the same kind of sound memory that allows you to sing Top 40 lyrics you don't quite understand—must play some sort of important role in language learning. To me, it feels almost as if the brain learns the sounds first, and then waits for some context that allows it to assign meaning to those sounds.

I find your theories more plausible than those of Noam Chomsky. Having said that, I will now seek shelter and refuse all invitations to debate the matter.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Gatsby
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby Gatsby » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:38 pm

Actually, the last line of the subject song is "A kid will eat ivy, too. Wouldn't you?" "Kid" meaning a young goat.
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Speakeasy
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Re: Marziedotes-n-doziedotes

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:25 pm

Gatsby wrote:Actually, the last line of the subject song is "A kid will eat ivy, too. Wouldn't you?" "Kid" meaning a young goat.

Are you telling me that my dad got it all wrong? Them's fightin' words! Seriously, I thought that the nonsensical text that I retained were simply for rhyming purposes. Thanks for me correcting me. This is beginning to take the form of a game for children, of which I can no longer remember the name, where a word or phrase is whispered from one child to the other and then compared with the original. Bonk!

Dad, hello dad, about that rhyme you used to sing to Sis, I've got more bad news!
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