Inspired by Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames, these German verses sound, when read aloud, like Mother Goose rhymes being spoken in accented English.
You can give it a try if you’re in private (or not easily embarrassed):
Little Bo-peep has lost her sheep,
And doesn’t know where to find them;
Leave them alone, and they will come home,
Bringing their tails behind them.
Liesel Bopp hieb es Schloss der schieb
An Dutzend Noor, wer zu Feind dem,
Lief dem Aal ohn’ an Tee willkomm Ohm;
Brenken der Teil Spee ein dem.
Compared to the French version of this concept, I found the rhymes much easier to recognize in German. I also liked that this edition had all the English verses in the back, so I didn’t have to resort to Google for translations nearly as often.
Why I read it: while researching Mots d’Heures, I learned about this book and bought a copy immediately. I sing in German a lot (in fact, this weekend I’m performing in Bach’s St. John Passion), so this is great practice and fun.
This might be the strangest and most ingenious premise for a book I have ever seen–even after reading it, I still don’t really see how it’s possible. It is a collection of poems written in French that, when read aloud, sound like Mother Goose rhymes being read in English with a thick French accent. The author supplies entertaining footnotes that attempt, with varying degrees of success, to make sense of the “original” French.
Here’s an example for “Little Bo Peep”:
Little Bo Peep
has lost her sheep
and doesn’t know where to find them;
leave them alone and they will come home
wagging their tails behind them.
Lille beau pipe
Ocelot serre chypre
En douzaine aux verres tuf indemne
Livre de melons un dé huile qu’aux mômes
Eau à guigne d’air telle baie indemne.
Why I read it: My friend, Alison (whose own book, Entropy Academy, is soon to be released), gave this book to me while I was taking a French language class. Hearing the verses read aloud in her English accent was a hilariously bizarre experience.
N.B. There is a German version of this concept called Mörder Guss Reims.
This exercise was to find as many rhymes as possible for the words girl and martyr. Also, wander around noting down at least 20 things as you can see, hear or smell, then thinking of rhymes for each word.
Rhymes with girl: curl, whirl, burl, furl, hurl, knurl, purl, merle, pearl, swirl, churl
Rhymes with martyr: garter, carter, barter, smarter, charter, darter, farter, tartar, harder, larder, bombarder, starter
Tea: spree, me, tree, free, carefree, fee, coffee, golly, Godfrey, bee, ski, gee, lee, tee, flea, flee, be, knee, pee, see, sea, whee, ye, Bree, brie, agree
Drinking: finking, stinking, kinking, linking, sinking, winking, blinking, plinking, clinking
Blackberry: very, sherry, hari-kari, fairy, tarry, solitary, military, contrary, parry, dysentery, ferry, carry, dairy, merry, nary, hairy, vary, wary, February
Salt: halt, fault, malt gestalt, alt vault, assault
Drying: frying, crying, prying, scrying, trying
Oven: coven, woven, joven, cloven
Snot: hot, shot, thought, bought, taught, caught, knot, not, wrought, fought, bot, cot, dot, got, jot, lot, bon mot, ought, pot, rot, sot, tot, haute
Wheeze: sneeze, freeze, cheese, bees, trees, fleas, tease, please, geez, keys, knees, peas, seize, frieze, breeze
Listen: christen, glisten
Phone: tone, bone, cone, hone, lone, moan, pone, roan, zone, loan, stone, grown, thrown, groan, sown, blown, flown
Rustle: hustle, bustle, muscle, tussle
Hem: gem, mayhem, stem
Magnetic: barbaric, prosodic, prophetic
Television: fission, mission, incision
Comic: atomic, chronic, cosmic
Relax: axe, tarmacs, Big Macs, tracks, backs, fax, wax, stacks, knacks, wracks, racks, cracks, hacks, lax, Ajax, max, pax, quacks, sax, sacks, tacks, tax, yacks
Screen: ween, wean, green preen
Games: maims, tames, frames, dames, James, lames, names