Alternative lyrics to Frère Jacques

Alternative lyrics to Frère Jacques

There are numerous alternative lyrics to Frère Jacques. Frère Jacques is a melody that might be among the most well-known tunes that exist on Earth. There are many alternative lyrics that have been created for this melody that have nothing to do with bells or sleeping. A few appear here, serving as illustrative examples.

=In English=

There are numerous alternative lyrics to the "Frère Jacques" tune in different languages, which is also true of many other children's songs. This is also true in English. Some of the more common English alternative "Frère Jacques" lyrics are listed below.

Brother James/Jack

A common version is:
Brother James, Brother James,
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Ring the bell for matins, Ring the bell for matins,
Ding, ding, dong. Ding, ding, dong.

The name "James" can be replaced with other names like Jack and John. Another popular version runs:

Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping,
Brother John? Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing. Morning bells are ringing.
Ding, dong, ding. Ding, dong, ding.


English officer cadets are known to have taunted French cadets during exchanges with the following lyrics, invoking the names of battles in which English forces have defeated French forces:

Happy Birthday

In the Garfield and Friends episode "Peace and Quiet", Binky the Clown sings a "Happy Birthday" song set to the tune of Frère Jacques:

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Whoop-tee-doo, Whoop-tee-doo,
May your day be pleasant, Open up your present,
Just for you, Just for you.

In the The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries episode "Happy Birthday, Scooby Doo", the gang also sings a "Happy Birthday" song set to this version of the tune of Frère Jacques:

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo,
Happy Happy Birthday, Happy Happy Birthday,
Scooby Doo, Scooby Doo.

Are We There Yet?

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
No we're not! No we're not!
When will we get there? When will we get there?
I don't know! I don't know!

We Are Stupid

We are stupid, we are stupid,We are nuts, we are nuts,Happy little morons, happy little morons.Pbblcc, pbblcc (flick lips with finger, like a child.)

Where is Thumbkin?

Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am! Here I am!
How are you today, Sir? Very well. I thank you!
Run and hide! Run and hide!

Another version replaces "run and hide" with "run away" or "let's all play". The song "Where is Thumbkin?" has several other verses. [ [ National Institutes of Health, Department of Health & Human Services website: Where is Thumbkin?] ]

I hear thunder

In India, English-speaking children are taught another version of this rhyme in the nursery. Perhaps it is related to the monsoon season on the Indian subcontinent:

I hear thunder, I hear thunder,
Hark don't you? Hark don't you? (or: Oh don't you? Oh don't you?)
Pit-a-patter raindrops, Pit-a-patter raindrops,
I'm wet through, So are you.

This version is also well-known in England.

Days in the Week

Some children are taught the days in the week through this rhyme:

There are seven, there are seven,
Days in the week, days in the week.
Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday,
Saturday. That's the week.


Rheumatism, Rheumatism,
How it pains, How it pains,
Up and down my system, Up and down my system,
When it rains, When it rains. [ [ View Song Lyrics for Rheumatism ] ]

Where Is Santa?

There is a Christmas song that is sung to the tune of "Frère Jacques":

Where is Santa? Where is Santa?
Here I am. Here I am.
Merry, merry Christmas. Merry, merry Christmas.
Ho, Ho, Ho. Ho, Ho, Ho.

There are dances that go with this song. [ [ Christmas Dances: Australian Carols] ]

Tartan Army

The Tartan Army is a group of soccer enthusiasts who follow the Scottish team. From a soccer tournament in St. Etienne:

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques,
Norway drew, Norway drew,
Gaunnae beat Morocco, gaunnae beat Morocco
We're gaun' through, we're gaun through.

This was later amended to:

Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques,
Norway drew, Norway drew,
Beaten by Morocco, beaten by Morocco,
We're stuffed noo, we're stuffed noo.

Big auntie at little angel's school

School is over, School is over
Home we'll go, Home we'll go
We'll come back tomorrow, We'll come back tomorrow
Bye bye bye, Bye bye bye

Allan Sherman's version "Sarah Jackman"

In his album "My Son, the Folk Singer," Allan Sherman included a variation whose first verse goes:

Sarah Jackman, Sarah Jackman,
How's by you? How's by you?
Whatcha doin' Sarah? Reading John O'Hara;
He's nice too; He's nice too.

Chinese Dynasty Song

Sometimes used in schools to help children remember the Chinese dynasties in order from the foundational period.

Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han; Shang, Zhou, Qin Han;
Sui, Tang, Song; Sui, Tang, Song;
Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic; Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic;
Mao Zedong; Mao Zedong;

Catching Fishes

In the English dub of Nadesico, Yurika sang this version of the song.

Catching fishes, catching fishes
On a hook, on a hook
Hop them from the ladder
Cut them into batter
Yum yum gut, yum yum gut

Computer song

scanf char, scanf char
switch case break, switch case break
do include return, do include return
int long int , int long int

chool Meals

School meals, School meals
Concrete chips, Concrete chips
Soggy semolena, soggy semolena
I feel sick, I feel sick

Or, as sung by The Singing Kettle popular Scottish children's group:

What's for dinner? What's for dinner?
Think it's stew, think it's stew
Soggy semolina, soggy semolina
No thank you! No thank you!

Goodnight Brownies

Sung by many packs of Brownie Guides in the UK.

Goodnight brownies, goodnight brownies
Guiders too, guiders too
Put your hats and coats on, put your hats and coats on
Twit twit twoo! Twit twit twoo!

AJK VersionCome to dinner, Come to dinnerHear the bells, Hear the bellsBacon and Potatoes, Bacon and PotatoesAll done well, All done well

Other subjects

There are numerous other sets of alternative lyrics to the "Frere Jacques" melody in English, about the water cycle, [ [ Water Cycle] , Suzy Gazlay (1996), "Chanter pour la Science", S'COOL Breeze: Student Cloud Observations Online, Volume 1, Number 6, September 1999] snow, [ [ Dance Like Snowflakes] ,] marsupials, [ [ Australia Native Animals (tune of Frère Jacques)] , Australian Animals, Early Literacy Telecollaborative Project ] garbage, [ [ Pick Up Litter] , How Attractive (Magnetic) is Your Litter?] infectious diseases, [ [ "The Infectious Disease Song", later performed as "The CDC Sing-along", as set to "Frère Jacques"] , written by David Wininger and Kristen Olsson in 1995, with addenda by Stentor Danielson, Pam Mulkern, and David Wininger in 1999] squares, [ [ How Can You Tell (tune "Frere Jacques")] , Ready to Learn: Try singing about the different shapes, Every Child Learning Every Day: An early childhood newsletter from the State Department of Education, Volume 3, Number 5, May 2004] counseling, [ [ “When You Counsel”] , Nigerian Counseling song, Topic 1 – Welcome Back A. Warm Up-Song, WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training Session 3 ] lead pollution, [ [ Lead Can Hurt Us (Tune of Frere Jacques) ] , GET THE LEAD OUT ] groundhogs, [ [ See My Shadow (to the tune of "Frere Jacques")] , Groundhog Day, CanTeach] educational theories, [ [ Schema Song (to the tune of Frere Jacques) ] , Kimberly Mutterback, Mercer County Academic Coach, Robin Fogerty & Associates, Literacy Matters] Chinese New Year, [ [ Chinese Dragon (to the tune of "Frere Jacques")] , Chinese New Year, CanTeach] and many more.

Other languages

In Afrikaans

Vader Jakob, vader Jakob,
Slaap jy nog? Slaap jy nog?
Hoor hoe lui die kerkklok, hoor hoe lui die kerkklok,
Ding Dong Dell. Ding Dong Dell.

=In Dutch=

Vader Jacob, vader Jacob,
Slaapt gij nog? Slaapt gij nog?
Alle klokken luiden, alle klokken luiden,
Ding Deng Dong. Ding Deng Dong.

In Cantonese

A song in Cantonese:打開蚊帳。

Sound as :Da hoi man cheung,
Da hoi man cheung,
Yau jek man,
Yau jek man,
Fai D lor ba sin lei,
Fai D lor ba sin lei,
Put chau kui, Put chau kui.

Translation: Open the mosquito net, Open the mosquito net, There's a mosquito, There's a mosquito, Quickly bring a hand-fan, Quickly bring a hand-fan, Fan it away, Fan it away.

In Esperanto

Some Esperanto lyrics to Frère Jacques are: [ [ A Kantoj laŭ la melodio "Frère Jacques"] , Children's Songs and Rhymes in Esperanto - Kinderlieder und Reime auf Esperanto, an esperanto website]

Per okuloj, per okuloj // by [with] eyes vidas ni, vidas ni, // we see vidas per okuloj, vidas per okuloj, // see by eyes vidas ni. // we see Per oreloj - aŭdas ni ... // with ears, we hear Per la nazo - flaras ni ... // with the nose, we smell Per la buŝo - kantas ni ... // with the mouths, we sing Per la mano - skribas ni ... // with the hand, we write Per la gamboj - kuras ni ... // with the legs, we run

Another song:

Eta raŭpo, eta raŭpo, venas jen, venas jen, grimpas sur Christina, grimpas sur Christina, iras for, iras for.

Another song:

Urso bruna, urso bruna // brown bear estas mi, estas mi // I am bruna kaj malgranda, bruna kaj malgranda // brown and small estas mi. // I am

=In French=

A "Frère Jacques"-like tune is used as a refrain in the song "Frère Jacques", which has lyrics by F. Pothier and music by Léon Raiter: Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques Sonnez les matines, Sonnez les matines, Dig, ding, don, Dig, ding, don, ;Pendant que son frère, en chemin, criait : « Voilà du fromage, du bon fromage au lait » Dig, ding, don, Dig, ding, don.

Rough translation: Brother James, Brother James, They are sounding the bells, They are sounding the bells, Dig, ding, don, Dig, ding, don, While his brother in the road cries out, Here is some cheese, some good cheese with milk, Dig, ding, don, Dig, ding, don.

Another French version, from Dominique de Villepin:

Cher Jacques, cher Jacques, Dormez vous, dormez vous? Sauvez le Parti, sauvez le Parti, Dingue, dingue, donc, Dingue, dingue, donc.

Rough translation: Dear James, Dear James, Do you sleep, Do you sleep? Save the party, Save the party, Dingue, Dingue, donc. Dingue, dingue, donc.

Another French song that is sung as a round with a "Frère Jacques"-like melody is:

Londres flambe, Londres flambe, Quelle affaire, quelle affaire, Au feu, Au feu, Plus d'eau, rien à faire!

A version of "Frère Jacques" sung on Mayotte:

Sur la plage, Sur la plage,
Il y a un nid, Il y a un nid,
Les oiseaux y chantent, Les oiseaux y chantent,
Cui cui cui, Cui cui cui.

=In German=

Bruder Jakob, Bruder Jakob Schläfst du noch? Schläfst du noch? Hörst du nicht die Glocken? Hörst du nicht die Glocken? Ding Dang Dong, Ding Dang Dong

(Brother Jakob, are you still sleeping? Don't you hear the bells, ding dang dong)

This grammar song is sung in German classes.

Aus, bei, mit, nach, (2x) seit, von, zu, (2x) alle brauchen Dativ, (2x) immerzu. (2x)

Translation: From, with, after, / since, from, to, / all need dative / always.

In Hebrew

There is a verse in Hebrew entitled "Ahinu Ya'akov" (Hebrew: אחינו יעקב, Brother Jacob) which is sung to this tune, but it is not about sleeping or bells:

אחינו יעקב!
אחינו יעקב!
סע לאט!
סע לאט!
אם תסע מהר,
יתפוס אותך שוטר!
סע לאט!
סע לאט!

This can be translated as:

Brother Jacob!
Brother Jacob!
Drive slowly!
Drive slowly!
If you drive fast,
A policeman will catch you!
Drive slowly!
Drive slowly!

=In Mandarin=

Various Mandarin versions:

三个老虎。(Sān ge lǎohǔ.)
三个老虎。(Sān ge lǎohǔ.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
一个没有尾巴。(Yī ge méi yǒu wěiba.)
一个没有尾巴。(Yī ge méi yǒu wěiba.)
真奇怪。(Zhēn qíguài.)
真奇怪。(Zhēn qíguài.)

Translation: Three tigers, Three tigers / Running fast, Running fast / One's without a tail, One's without a tail / Really strange, Really strange. --- By Lie-Hap-Po

两只老虎。(Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ.)
两只老虎。(Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
一只没有眼睛。(Yī zhī méi yǒu yǎnjīng.)
一只没有嘴巴。(Yī zhī méi yǒu zuǐbā.)
好奇怪。(Hǎo qíguài)
好奇怪。(Hǎo qíguài)

Translation: Two tigers, two tigers / Run so fast, run so fast / One has no eyes, One has no mouth / So strange! So strange!

两只老虎。(Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ.)
两只老虎。(Liǎng zhī lǎohǔ.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
跑得快。(Pǎo de kuài.)
一只没有耳朵。(Yī zhī méi yǒu ěrduo.)
一只没有尾巴。(Yī zhī méi yǒu wěiba.)
真奇怪。(Zhēn qíguài.)
真奇怪。(Zhēn qíguài.)

Translation: Two tigers, two tigers / run fast, run fast / one has no ears / one has no tail / truly strange, truly strange.

打开蚊帐。(Dakai wenzhang.)
打开蚊帐。(Dakai wenzhang.)
有一只蚊子。(You yi zhi wenzi.)
有一只蚊子。(You yi zhi wenzi.)
快点打它。(Kuai dian da ta.)
快点打它。(Kuai dian da ta.)
打死它。(Da si ta.)
打死它。(Da si ta.)

Translation: Open the mosquito net. There is a mosquito. Hurry a little and hit it. Hit and kill it.

=In Portuguese=

Estás dormindo, estás dormindo?
Frei João, Frei João
Vai tocar o sino, vai tocar o sino
Dlim, dlim, dlão.

(Translation: "Are you sleeping, are you sleeping / Brother John, Brother John / Go and ring the bell, go and ring the bell / Ding, ding, dong")

*The song "Os Dedinhos" (The Fingers) was made famous in the 1990s by the Brazilian children's television show hostess Eliana: [ [ Eliana] ]

Polegares, polegares
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

Indicadores, indicadores
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

Dedos médios, dedos médios
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

Anulares, anulares
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

Dedos mínimos, dedos mínimos
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

Todos os dedos, todos os dedos
Onde estão, Aqui estão
Eles se saúdam, Eles se saúdam
E se vão, E se vão

The translation for the first verse would be:

"Thumbs, thumbs"
"Where are they? Here they are"
"They salute each other, They salute each other"
"And go away, And go away"

These lyrics are similar to the alternative English lyrics entitled "Where is Thumbkin?".

* There's also an Brazilian nursery rhyme, sung to the Frère Jacques tune:

Meu Lanchinho, meu lanchinho
Vou comer, vou comer
Pra ficar fortinho, pra ficar fortinho
E crescer, e crescer.

=In Spanish=

Fray Felipe, Fray Felipe,
Puedes tú, puedes tú,
Toca la campana, toca la campana,
Tan tan tan, tan tan tan.

Fray Campana, Fray Campana
¿duerme usted? ¿duerme usted?
Suenan las campanas, suenan las campanas,
din don dan, din don dan.

Martinillo, Martinillo
¿dónde estás? ¿dónde estás?
Suenan las campanas, suenan las campanas,
din don dan, din don dan.

=In Vietnamese=

Yellow Butterfly

Kìa con bướm vàng
Kìa con bướm vàng
Xoè đôi cánh
Xoè đôi cánh
Tung cánh bay năm ba vòng
Tung cánh bay năm ba vòng
Em ngồi xem
Em ngồi xem.


Giờ ăn đến rồi
Giờ ăn đến rồi
Mời anh xơi
Mời em xơi
Nâng chén lên cho cao này
nâng đũa lên cho cao này
Ta cùng xơi
ta cùng xơi.

=In Russian=

A song in Russian:

Я нe знаю (Ya ne znayu)
Я нe знаю (Ya ne znayu)
Ничего (Nichego)
Ничего (Nichego)
Ничего не знаю (Nichego ne znayu)
Ничего не знаю (Nichego ne znayu)
Хорошо (Horosho)
Хорошо (Horosho)

I don't know
I don't know
Don't know anything
Don't know anything

Literal Translation: I don't know, I don't know, Nothing, Nothing, Nothing don't know, Nothing don't know, Well, Well (note: double negatives are typical/usual in Russian)

ee also

*Translations of Frère Jacques


* [ An intercultural teaching document with some translations]
* [ A German song book with some translations]
* [ A multilingual songbook]
* [ Many versions of Frère Jacques in different languages]
* [ Frère Jacques lyrics in different languages]
* [ Another website with Frère Jacques lyrics in different languages]
* [ A "Frère Jacques" interactive and multilingual collection on video]

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