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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’ll 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8へようこそ。
Peter: Welcome to Lesson 8 of our Japanese Children Song Series. Naomi 先生, can you tell us the name of the song we’ll be focusing on in this lesson?
Naomi: 虫の声
Peter: Which literally means “The voices of insects.”
Naomi: Right. It refers to the song that insects make when they are singing at night. So, what can you tell us about the background of the song?
Peter: Why do I always have to do the background research? Well, this song was released in 1922 as a song for elementary school kids to learn. It’s said that Japanese people really like the sounds of insects and find them beautiful and even comforting.
Naomi: ああ、そうですね。 I would agree. Especially in summer, when many different insects are making a lot of sounds. When we hear insects making sounds at the end of summer, it’s a sign that autumn has come.
Peter: Because the song deals with insects sounds, we see a lot of onomatopoeia, right?
Naomi: そう、 Right. I think the onomatopoeia parts are appealing to children.
Peter: Anything that has an interesting sound and repeats like that it’s going to get their attention.
Naomi: チンチロチンチロチンチロリン Like that. The sounds that crickets make.
Peter: Now, if you liked our onomatopoeia lessons, I think you’re going to like this song. Okay, Naomi 先生, let’s take a look at the song and after we’ll take a look at the lyrics.
Naomi: はい

Lesson focus

Peter: Naomi 先生, another fairly simple song, wouldn’t you say?
Naomi: Yes. In terms of lyrics, I think it’s quite simple.
Peter: Comparatively.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: I agree. Short, simple phrases that are fitting for a children song. Can we hear the first line?
Naomi: Sure. あれマツムシが鳴いている
Peter: Let’s break this down.
Naomi: あれ is an expression of surprise, like “Oh!” or “Huh?”
Peter: In this case, they’re surprised at the sounds of the insects.
Naomi: Right. マツムシが鳴いている, “a pine crickets” and 鳴いている means “chirping” or “singing” when talking about insects.
Peter: It comes from the verb 鳴く which comes up a lot in the song. It’s used to refer to the sounds that animals make. And so depending on the animal you’re talking about, the translation will be different.
Naomi: That’s right. It’s used for birds, cats, insects, etcetera.
Peter: So, that means actions: singing, chirping, meowing, they’re all covered by this one verb, 鳴く. Now, in the translation we’re translated to “Sing.” So, what’s the line again?
Naomi: あれマツムシが鳴いている
Peter: “Can you hear? The crickets are singing.” Next?
Naomi: チンチロチンチロチンチロリン
Peter: チンチロチンチロチンチロリン
Naomi: はい
Peter: Now, it’s just the onomatopoeia. Of course, onomatopoeia is a word for a sound. For the sound that the pine crickets make.
Naomi: Yes. It does a good rhythm, doesn’t it?
Peter: I think it’s a really nice rhythm. But, I never heard a pine cricket.
Naomi: あ、本当?
Peter: I guess, if we really wanted to translate into English, it would be something like “Chirp, chirp, chirp.” What season are pine crickets?
Naomi: え、マツムシでしょ。
Peter: Yeah. I was like when I never heard “Ha?”
Naomi: I’m not sure about the seasons.
Peter: And the next line?
Naomi: あれ、鈴虫も鳴きだした
Peter: Again, it starts with?
Naomi: あれ
Peter: “Ah!”, “Oh!” in the translation it becomes “Can you hear?”
Naomi: Yes. And then 鈴虫
Peter: “Bell crickets”. Naomi 先生, I think bell crickets and the pine crickets mentioned in the first line are Japanese insects.
Naomi: あ、本当? Really?
Peter: Really. So, even though they translate the pine crickets and bell crickets, our listeners might even not be familiar with these kinds of crickets.
Naomi: はあ、面白いね。 Interesting. Maybe they can look at the picture online.
Peter: Not a bad idea. Okay, so what did the –
Naomi: 鈴虫
Peter: What the bell cricket started to do?
Naomi: 鈴虫も鳴きだした
Peter: “It started to sing, too.” This 鳴きだす is a compound verb, right?
Naomi: Yes. It combines the verb 鳴く, “to sing” and 出す, “to take out”.
Peter: When this 出す is used as a helping verb, it attaches to the must stamp of another verb. It has the meaning of “start to” or “begin to”.
Naomi: Right. So, 鳴きだす in this context means “start to sing”.
Peter: Can we hear the whole line again?
Naomi: あれ鈴虫も鳴きだした
Peter: “Hey! The bell crickets started to sing too!” Next?
Naomi: リンリンリンリンリーンリン
Peter: Naomi 先生, that was a bad bell cricket.
Naomi: 失礼。
Peter: That was a sick bell cricket, wasn’t it, Naomi 先生?
Naomi: I’m really a bad singer.
Peter: No. The onomatopoeia for the sound the bell crickets make. It sounds like a little bell, right?
Naomi: Right. This “ding-ding” is the onomatopoeia for the sound of a bell, as well.
Peter: Not much different from English. “Ring-ring-ring”. And the next line?
Naomi: 秋の夜長を鳴き通す
Peter: Let’s break this down.
Naomi: 秋の夜長を、秋 is?
Peter: “Autumn”.
Naomi: And 夜長 is “long night”.
Peter: So, “The long autumn nights.”
Naomi: Yes. Through the long autumn night. Then, 鳴きとおす
Peter: Another compound verb.
Naomi: Right. そうですね。鳴く as you know is “sing” and 通す means “to keep doing something all the way”.
Peter: So, 鳴きとおす would be “To sing the whole time.”
Naomi: はい。
Peter: “Sing through the whole autumn night.”
Naomi: あ、その通りです Exactly. 秋の夜長を鳴きとおす
Peter: “They all through the long autumn night.” And the last line of the song is?
Naomi: ああ面白い、虫の声
Peter: ああ面白い like “How interesting!” right?
Naomi: そうですね。 And of course, they’re talking about 虫の声, “the sounds of the insects”.
Peter: So, in the translation we have “Ah! What amusing voices they have!”
Naomi: That’s right.
Peter: Naomi 先生
Naomi: はい
Peter: I’d really want to hear what those pine crickets and bell crickets sound like.
Naomi: I’m sure you can find audio files online.
Peter: Is that your new answer for everything? “Oh! You can find it online! How about you find those links and put it in the comments?”
Naomi: はい。
Peter: So, are you doing to find some for us?
Naomi: Yeah, I’ll find them.
Peter: お願いします。
Naomi: はい。
Peter: So, let’s have a listen to?
Naomi: サクラさんの歌


Naomi: Well, that’s all the time we have for this lesson.
Peter: We hope you enjoyed the song and please let us know what you thought of it.
Naomi: Yes, please leave us a comment.
Peter: Thanks for listening to the Japanese Children Song Series. Until the next time!
Naomi: じゃあまた。 Find more detailed explication of the lyrics at JapanesePod101. There, listen to the full version of the songs and video format completed with beautiful pictures of Japan. Go to JapanesePod101.com to get your free lifetime account.


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Song (Full Version)