Monday, March 14, 2011

一个老头七十七 An Old Man Who was 77

This nonsense rhyme is funny and very simple to learn! Enjoy!

一个老头七十七,yi2ge4  lao3tou2  qi1shi2qi1
娶个老婆八十一,qu3ge4  lao3po2  ba1shi2yi1,
生个儿子九十九,sheng1ge4  er2zi  jiu3shi2jiu3,
得个孙子一百一。de2ge4  sun1zi  yi1bai3yi1.

(Once there was) an old man who was seventy-seven years old.
He married his wife  (when she) was eighty-one,
(They) gave birth to a son who was ninty-nine,
(They) got a grandchild who was one hundred and one.

There is another rhyme with the same title. However, this one is used for a finger-guessing game called HuaChuan(划拳, a drinking game at the feast). You will see this happy and noisy scenes a lot during the Spring Festival Season. This rhyme, however, is different from the popular chants used for the guessing game. It's kind of miming chant, like a Chinese version of "This old man, he plays one."

一个老头七十七,yi2ge4  lao3tou2  qi1shi2qi1,
再过四年八十一。 zai4  guo4  si4 nian2  ba1shi2yi1,
shou3  da3 yao1gu3  bulengbuleng  xiang3,
怀抱琵琶横吹笛。  huai2  bao4 pi2pa   heng2 chui1 di2.

(Once there was ) an old man aged 77,
Another four years passed,  he would be 81.
His hands beat the waist drum and made the loud noise.
Holding a PiPa on the lap, he plays the flute.

Wow, this old man certainly sounds like a Gongfu master, with such energy and agility! Three kinds of traditional Chinese musical instruments are mentioned in the rhyme. Have you seen them before?

Chinese flute

Playing Pi-pa

Playing Waist Drum

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