Rat vit riz,
Rat mit patte à ras,
Rat mit patte à riz,
Riz cuit patte à rat.
rah vee ree,
rat mee paa tah rah,
rah mee paa tah ree,
ree kwee paa tah rah.
Click below to hear this tonguetwister.
Rat saw rice,
Rat put paw on the surface,
Rat put paw to rice,
Rice cooks rat’s paw.
Oh, this sounds appetizing! I have a personal grudge against rats, but I’m sure none of you want rats taking a header into your rice either.
What tense are those verbs? In the first three lines, it’s called the passé simple or passé historique, the simple or historical past. Simple, because it is a one-word tense, unlike the passé composé or compound past which requires two parts. Historical, because one of its main uses is to tell stories. The last line is in the present tense–just to make it rhyme with the other verbs!
The telegraphic style, without articles or adjectives, is typical of proverbs and traditional sayings.
And by the way, most methods of rice cookery call for a snug lid on the rice. But I can attest from experience that a rat is both clever enough and strong enough to get that lid off, so don’t wander too far from your kitchen while the rice is cooking.
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