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Thread: "New Year's Limericks" in Russian with Russ. subtitles!

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    "New Year's Limericks" in Russian with Russ. subtitles!

    From the Russian computer-animated comedy show Мульт Личности, caricatures of Putin and Medvedev sing "Новогодние Частушки" -- and this version has subtitles in Russian, so that non-native speakers can understand the words better. Whatever one agrees with the political humor or not, as a learner of Russian I found it to be quite an enjoyable translation exercise:

    Новогодние Частушки

    P.S. Technically speaking, of course, частушки are not "limericks" in their concrete form -- a chastushka is a four-line verse in trochaic tetrameter (TA-ta, TA-ta, TA-ta, TA-ta), while a limerick has five lines and is based on the anapestic foot (ta-ta-TA, ta-ta-TA, ta-ta-TA). But one can made a good argument that they are very much the same in spirit, although not in structure.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Re: Мультик "Новогодние Частушки" с русскими субтитрами

    On the other hand, the closest English equivalents to the частушка in form are the genre of humorous poems called "Little Willies" -- these have the same type of sadistic humor as the Маленький мальчик verses in Russian, although "Little Willies" are trochaic, while the Маленький мальчик is dactylic (TA-ta-ta, TA-ta-ta, TA-ta-ta...).

    Willy found some dynamite
    Couldn't understand it quite
    Curiosity never pays
    It rained Willy seven days.

    Willy split the baby's head
    To see if brains are gray or red.
    Mother sighed and said to Father:
    "Children can be such a bother."
    А самый известный пример этого "жанра" не касается фиктивного мальчика, а настоящего преступления из американской истории:

    Lizzie Borden took an axe, and
    Gave her mother forty whacks.
    When he saw what she had done, she
    Gave her father forty-one.
    Finally, as an example of English verse that's similar to the Маленький мальчик genre in its content AND rhythm, I would point to Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies, a morbidly humorous азбука in dactylic couplets:

    A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
    B is for Basil, assaulted by bears
    C is for Clara, who wasted away
    D is for Desmond, thrown out of a sleigh
    (etc.)
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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