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Lesson Transcript

Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101でございます。
Naomi: Welcome to the Japanese Children Song Series at JapanesePod101.com. In this series, you will learn Japanese language and culture through Japanese Children Songs. Go to our site to hear full versions of the songs, sung by professional singer Kana Mizushima. Visit JapanesePod101.com and claim your free lifetime account now.
Naomi: ナオミです。
Peter: Peter here.
Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101.comの、童謡のレッスン2へようこそ。
Peter: Welcome to our second Japanese Children Song Lesson. Naomi 先生, before we get into today’s lesson, I just wanted to tell a quick story related to our previous song, ふるさと.
Naomi: はい。なんでしょう、 What is it?
Peter: It’s just that I met my Japanese friends, I played the song for them and they were kind of wowed. They were really impressed that I had this on my iPhone. Impressed or couldn’t understand it. It was one of the other but, it worked out really, really nice because we actually – we talked about my friend’s family and where’re they from and my friend’s wife and where’re theirs family from, so, it’s a really good conversation piece.
Naomi: That’s really nice. And also if you’re a, for example, if you’re a third generation in oversea, you can play that music for your grandmother and grandfather.
Peter: Yeah.
Naomi: They should know the song.
Peter: This is what’s really nice about the series, that you can take the song and have Japanese people that you know, listen to this and then have them tell a story about the song, because most Japanese people – Naomi 先生, there I’d say all Japanese people know this.
Naomi: そうですね。
Peter: Okay. Naomi 先生 can you tell us the name of the song we’re focusing on in this lesson?
Naomi: ねんねんころり
Peter: ねんねんころり?
Naomi: Well, the real name is 江戸の子守歌
Peter: “Lullaby of Edo.”
Naomi: Yeah. But, quite a few Japanese people might know it as ねんねんころり or ねんねんころりよ
Peter: Can you tell us a little bit about the song? For example, where and when originated. Things like that.
Naomi: This song is a traditional Japanese lullaby that originated in the Edo period and spread out to various regions in Japan. It has been said that many Japanese lullaby songs came from this song.
Peter: So, there are other variations of the song?
Naomi: そうですね。 Right. But, in this lesson, we are going to introduce the most popular version.
Peter: Okay, so like last time, we’re going to analyze the lyrics of this lullaby. There’s a lot of non-standard language in the song. So, we’re going to help you understand it by interpreting it into modern Japanese. Naomi 先生?
Naomi: はい。
Peter: Shall we get started?
Naomi: はい。
Peter: But before we started, I just wanted to say that I really, really like this one.
Naomi: あ、本当?
Peter: Yeah. This one has a nice tune to it. So, Naomi 先生, shall we get started?
Naomi: Okay, let’s listen to the song. それでは、聞いてみましょう。

Lesson focus

Peter: Alright, let’s go through it line by line. Naomi 先生, what’s first and of course, the most famous line?
Naomi: ねんねんころりよ、おころりよ
Peter: And, I have no idea what that means.
Naomi: The first part, ねんねん, is a word in 幼児語 or baby talk.
Peter: Kind of like babble.
Naomi: そうそうそう。ねんねする is “to sleep” which is 寝る in normal language.
Peter: Actually, we have a similar sounding phrase in English.
Naomi: あ、そう?
Peter: “To go nay-nay.” I think it might come from the word “night”. But it means “Go to sleep.”
Naomi: Wow, that’s pretty similar. 似てますね。
Peter: What’s the next word?
Naomi: ころりよ、ころり is the onomatopoeia and よ is the sentence ending particle. In this case, this よ indicates a command.
Peter: And what does this onomatopoeia ころり mean?
Naomi: I think we covered that in our onomatopoeia series. But, ころり or ころころ indicates the action of “rolling.”
Peter: I think I remember. So, ねんねんころりよ is something like “Roll on one side and sleep”?
Naomi: そうですね and the last part おころりよ is just a repetition. So, in plain language it’s 寝なさい.
Peter: “Go to bed.” Which is a type of order.
Naomi: そうです。 the message is quite simple.
Peter: Right. The speaker is telling the baby “Go to sleep.” And, I think, everybody out there with a baby can relate to this. “Go to sleep.”
Naomi: Please.
Peter: おころりよ
Naomi: そうそうそう。
Peter: Naomi 先生, I know this is like – I know this is a such non-cultured statement and we’re doing such a cultural thing here, but, when I hear this word ころりよ I think of the commercial カラリオ
Naomi: 違うじゃん。おころりよ、カラリオ。あ、似てるね。 They’re similar.
Peter: What is that, a printer, again?
Naomi: Yeah, the name of their printer.
Peter: Apologies. Okay, how about the next line?
Naomi: 坊やは良い子だねんねしな
Peter: So, the word 坊や means “little boy”. It doesn’t change in the modern Japanese version, does it?
Naomi: No.
Peter: Naomi 先生, I have two questions. One, is it used a lot and two, what kind of nuance does it have?
Naomi: We don’t use it very often but we still use it sometimes. For example, if there’s a lost child, whose name you don’t know, you might call them 坊や。坊やどうしたの? “Hey, little boy. What happened to you?” In the meaning of 坊や is “little boy” and people of older generations might use it to [ward] a young boy whose name they don’t know or as a substitute for a young boy’s name.
Peter: Okay, moving on. 良い子だ is quite simple. It means “good boy”. And the next part is?
Naomi: ねんねしな, which means 寝なさい
Peter: “Go to bed.” Can we hear the original phrase again?
Naomi: Sure. 坊やは良い子だねんねしな
Peter: And in plain language?
Naomi: 坊やや良い子だね。寝なさい。
Peter: “You’re such a good boy, so please go to bed.” Okay, how about the next line?
Naomi: 坊やのお守りはどこへいった Again, we have the word 坊や
Peter: What’s お守り?
Naomi: お守り or 守る is a word that refers of someone who takes care of a child.
Peter: So, like a caregiver of a nanny?
Naomi: あ、そうそう。nanny って感じ。 I guess the word 守り comes from the verb 守る meaning “to protect”.
Peter: Okay. Can you give the line again?
Naomi: Sure. 坊やのお守りはどこへいった
Peter: “Where did the nanny go?” or “Where did your nanny go?”
Naomi: And in the next line, there’s the answer. あの山越えて里へ行った I think it’s pretty comprehensive あの山を越えて里へ行った
Peter: あの山 is “that mountain”, 越える is “to go over”. So?
Naomi: あの山を越えて
Peter: “Over that mountain.”
Naomi: The next word, 里 means “hometown”, I think it comes from the word ふるさと. So, 里へ行った means?
Peter: “Went back to the hometown.”
Naomi: はい。
Peter: So, his nanny went back to the hometown.
Naomi: そうです。坊やのお守りは山を越えてふるさとに帰りました。
Peter: “The nanny crossed over the mountain and went back to our hometown.” That’s odd. I wonder if she’s coming back.
Naomi: You’ll find out in the next line.
Peter: Okay.
Naomi: The next line is 里の土産になにもろた.
Peter: 里の土産 this must be ふるさとのお土産
Naomi: Bing-bong.
Peter: “A souvenir from the hometown.”
Naomi: そうです。もろた is 貰った in modern Japanese.
Peter: 貰う is “to receive” or “to get”, so, 貰った is “received or got”.
Naomi: そうです。 Right.
Peter: Can we hear the original line?
Naomi: 里のみやげに何もろた
Peter: In modern Japanese?
Naomi: ふるさとのお土産に何を貰ったの?
Peter: “What did you get as a souvenir form our hometown?” And now, the last line, which is?
Naomi: でんでん太鼓に笙の笛 these are the お土産 that the baby received. The first one is でんでん太鼓
Peter: “A small rattle drum.”
Naomi: でんでんでんでん
Peter: It’s like the little drum on a stick that has two round pieces attached with a string and when you roll the stick between your hands, the little round pieces hit the drum and make rattling sounds.
Naomi: そうです。
Peter: So, I think you can picture it.
Naomi: Actually, でんでん is the onomatopoeia that drum makes.
Peter: What’s the next souvenir?
Naomi: 笙の笛 is “flute” and here’s the tricky part. 笙の笛 is a traditional Japanese flute, but as 笙の笛 is so expensive and was not played by commoners, so it is assumed that it was actually meant to be something else. Maybe just a regular bamboo flute.
Peter: That’s actually very, very interesting. And it’s actually kind of unlikely that a nanny gave a baby such an expensive traditional flute as a souvenir.
Naomi: そうですね。 Maybe she did, we don’t know. Since the song has a long history, nobody knows.
Peter: Very interesting. Now, one small thing I want to point out here. In the original line, there’s a に, the particle に in between the names of the two items. Now, this に means “and”. In the modern interpretation, と was used. Can we hear the original sentence again?
Naomi: でんでん太鼓に笙の笛
Peter: “A rattle drum and a bamboo flute.” Alright, well I think that just about does it for this Japanese Children Song lesson. We hope you enjoyed it.
Naomi: 最後に、サクラさんの歌を聞きましょう。 Before we go, let’s listen to the song sung by Sakura. She’s going to sing it acapella.
Peter: This time you will listen to the song without background music so you can hear the lyrics well.
Naomi: サクラさん、お願いします。


Naomi: Find more detailed explication of the lyrics at JapanesePod101.com. There, listen to the full version of the song and video form completed with beautiful pictures of Japan. Go to JapanesePod101.com to get your free lifetime account.


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