Am, stram, gram…

Am, stram, gram…

ahm, strahm, grahm… Click below to hear the sound file!


This is a comptine (kaw-TEEN), a counting-out rhyme. There are many, but this is probably the most famous of the French-language ones. Here’s how the whole rhyme goes:

Am, stram, gram,
Pic et pic et colégram,
Bourre et bourre et ratatam,
Am, stram, gram.

ahm, strahm, grahm,
peek ay peek ay koh-lay-grahm,
boor ay boor ay rah-tah-TAHM,
ahm, strahm, grahm.  

Note that the French language doesn’t lend itself to the English sing-song method of reciting these rhymes. That’s because of the even accentuation of the syllables, with only the last syllable of the utterance receiving a form of stress. So the French comptine is recited in a monotone, on a single pitch.

There’s not much point in translating it for you, is there? There are so many comptines in English. I learned two (in English) from my grandmother, that I have never heard anywhere else. What other French comptines do you know?

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