lost in translation.


This may not have significance for those outside of Canada and France, as what I am about to write about is a popular French children’s song that nearly everyone I know has heard and sung; Alouette.  Alouette is currently featured in [small part] a television commercial advertising ‘Go RVing Canada’.  You can watch a clip of it here.  In any event, after watching the commercial, the melodious song got stuck in my head.  Out of curiosity, I wondered how well I remembered the words from early childhood and googled the lyrics.  I was amused and somewhat disturbed to find the translation of a song we learned as children in grade school.  Though, I do realize it is just a song and does not have literal significance.  I was just surprised, is all.  Originating in France, Alouette is about plucking the feathers from a lark, in revenge for being woken up by its song.  Many Canadian, American and other Allied soldiers learned the song while serving in France during World War I and brought it home with them, passing it on to their children and grandchildren.  The French lyrics are:  Alouette, gentille alouette, Alouette, je te plumerai.  Je te plumerai la tête.  Je te plumerai la tête.  Et la tête! Et la tête!  Alouette! Alouette! A-a-a-ah.  And, so on.  The lyrics translated to English are:  Lark, nice lark, Lark, I will pluck you.  I will pluck your head.  I will pluck your head.  And your head! And your head!  Lark! Lark!  O-o-o-oh.  [Refrain.]  I will pluck your beak. I will pluck your beak.  And your beak! And your beak!  And your head!  And your head!  Lark!  Lark!  O-o-o-oh.  [Refrain.]  I will pluck your eyes. I will pluck your eyes.  And your eyes!  And your eyes!  And your beak!  And your beak!  And your head!  And your head!  Lark!  Lark!  O-o-o-oh.  This continues on to include the remaining parts of the bird.  Hmmm.  I wonder if those soldiers [and our teachers] knew the direct translation of the song they were passing on to generations and generations of children?  And, now, I can’t pluck Alouette out of my head.

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