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The Little Frogs – in Swedish Posted by on Jul 29, 2011 in Culture, music

I’m in Denmark attempting to learn Danish (if you’re trying to learn Danish, check out the Transparent Danish blog and Transparent Danish on Facebook). And while my Danish is coming along, I’ve also had the opportunity to spread a little Swedish culture while I’m here.

Of course, there has been the ever popular exchange of foreign swear words (Swedes, just like most Scandinavians, tend to invoke hell and the devil when they are swearing), the ever-popular exchange of foreign alcohol, and the somewhat less popular folksong and dance.

I, of course, opted to share some traditional songs. Because what better way to promote a language than by butchering a traditional song with my lack of singing talent? Since Sweden just celebrated Midsummer about a month ago, I thought Små Grodorna was appropriate.  The Little Frogs is a song sung every Midsummer in probably around every maypole in every town in Sweden.  It’s a classic.

So this post might be a little late. Or early. That’s because Swedes also dance to this song at Christmas time.  Replace the maypole with a Christmas tree and the long days with long nights and you’ve got the perfect opportunity to hop around like a little frog while singing.

The text is below for those of you who want to give the song a shot:

Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Små grodorna, små grodorna är lustiga att se.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.
Ej öron, ej öron, ej svansar hava de.

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.

I’ve included an English translation that you can find on Wikipedia here:

The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
The little frogs, the little frogs are funny to observe.
No ears, no ears no tails do they possess.
No ears, no ears no tails do they possess.

Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.
Kou ack ack ack, kou ack ack ack,
kou ack ack ack ack kaa.

And if you’re really feeling inspired, check out the YouTube clip showing the dance moves you’ll have to master before your next Midsummer or Swedish Christmas. The lyrics are a bit hard to hear, but if you follow along with the text you should be fine. Note though that as they switch directions, they break into a different verse singing about the little pigs.  Enjoy:

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About the Author:Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is currently a PhD candidate in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.

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Comments:

  1. Kajsa Hellgren Daugherty:

    This is one of my favorite childhood songs that I now sing to my own kids.

  2. Jerry Olson:

    the little frogs song is the best of the two songs. thank-you!

  3. Marcus Cederström:

    glad you enjoyed it


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