Kinderreime - Nursery Rhymes
“Hoppe hoppe Reiter” and other rhymes
Nursery Rhymes in German and English
Very few kids growing up in German-speaking Europe have missed being bounced on their parents' knees to the rhyming words of Hoppe hoppe Reiter.
This classic Kinderreim is one of the most popular among the many German nursery rhymes, which may only partly explain why the German metal band Rammstein used the Hoppe hoppe Reiter refrain in their song Spieluhr (music box).
Mother Goose in German
But if you really examine the words to Hoppe hoppe Reiter, they are almost as dark as a Rammstein song. But then most of Mother Goose is also on the violent and dark side, as are most fairy tales. There is a similar Mother Goose rhyme called "The Farmer and the Raven," the first verse of which goes:
A farmer went trotting
Upon his gray mare;
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!
With his daughter behind him,
So rosy and fair;
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!
A raven cried "Croak!"
And they all tumbled down...
(For the gruesome completion of this rhyme and more English "bounce" rhymes see: Mother Goose)
Still, learning German nursery rhymes (Kinderreime) can serve several purposes. First of all, parents in a bilingual parenting situation can help their children assimilate the German language and culture through Kinderreime.
But even those of us without young children can get something out of German nursery rhymes and Kinderlieder. They offer a window into vocabulary, culture, and other aspects of German. To that end, we offer you a selection of Kinderreime in German and English, starting with Hoppe hoppe Reiter.
Rammstein - 'Spieluhr' ('Hoppe hoppe Reiter')
Also see: German Songs for Children (Kinderlieder)
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