Children’s jingles, ditties, and catcalls, if they date from earlier times, are a source of information for two kinds of studies. First, they can tell us about language usage and dialectical variation: What syllables used to rhyme but no longer do? Which rhyme in one dialect but not another? When were feet more salient than syllables? Are there words that have subsequently dropped out of use?
Secondly, such material is also a window on popular attitudes: Are deformed, impoverished, or unmarried people funny or unfortunate? How old or young must one be for marriage? Are rich people enviable or oppressive? How important are good looks?
This small collection provides a few examples. Brief introductions highlight some of the social issues raised. Obviously, Chinese popular verse was never limited to jingles. A separate collection on this web site involves more serious verse link.
|1||A Visit to the Old Home||New bride can't return home|
|2||A New Daughter-in-Law||Sad Bride|
|3||No Girl Should Marry a Student||Advice to Girls|
|4||Get Married, Get Married||Girls should marry|
|5||O Little Soybean||Worthless girls|
|6||A Certain Daughter-in-Law||Ugly Husband|
|7||Little Red Boy||Horny Child|
|8||We Raise Pigs To Eat Good Meat||Worthless girls|
|9||A Boy Named Joy||Can't afford a wife|
|10||Eighteen Years Old||Need to marry by age 18|
|11||The Lonely Bachelor||Need for a wife|
|12||A Very Little Boy||Wife as nursemaid|
|13||Joy in the Courtyard||Sad Bride; Compassionate Groom|
|14||Very Odd||Chain verse|
|15||A Bald Man Named Gāo||Fickle gods|
|16||Grandpa’s Got Himself a Wife||Matchmakers; remarriage|
|17||Branches of Fir and Cypress||Sisters parting ways|
|18||Fat Boy for Sale||Selling children|
|19||A Husband at the Well||Wife as nursemaid|
|20||Dōng Go The Drums||Worthless girls|
|21||I Could Be Your Mother||Wife as nursemaid|
|22||Hurry Home and Don’t Tell Anyone||Extramarital (gay?) tryst|
|23||Five Hakka Love Songs||Gender-Ambiguous Love|
Return to top.