Baby Rhyme Translation
July 6, 2011 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone translate this baby game rhyme? It's possibly German or Polish.

My mother remembers this rhyme from a relative who came from Austria. She thinks it has something to do with kneading bread and throwing it in the oven. Here's a video of my mom playing the game with my daughter. (I can reshoot the video if the sound is a problem.)

All of our Googling has come up with nothing, probably because we have no idea how to spell it. I tried searching for combinations of the words Polish, German, Austrian, baby, game, rhyme, and bread, with no luck.

(We're laughing in the video because the game made the baby stop crying immediately.)
posted by Toothless Willy to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
I think the words at the beginning could be "kneten (knead) backen (bake)." I googled those two words and baby and got nothing, but maybe that'll help someone else.

Good luck!
posted by naturalog at 9:56 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

In Polish "do pieca" (pronounced "dough PYE-tsa") means to put in the oven. I don't know this particular rhyme but that's absolutely the kind of phrase you'd hear in this kind of baby game in Polish or other Slavic languages.
posted by ellenaim at 10:04 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I live in Austria and my wife is Austrian. The language is definitely not German or any regional dialect of it. It sounds Slavic to me.
posted by MighstAllCruckingFighty at 10:21 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Polish pal says not Polish.
posted by k8t at 11:28 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you know from which part of Austria your relative came from? Dialects in Austria are weird and very different sounding..

The last word sounded like "Schuster..." I tried to search for Austrian dialect words in the context of baking and came up with "Schusterbuben" (or "Schusterbuam") which is a kind of pastry and referenced for the region of Styria (

But that's all a very wild guess and not very substantial..
posted by ironicon at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I believe it's Czech or possibly Slovak. The way I hear it, it's several onomatopoeic sounds "pechi, pachi, pechi, pachi, shuus" and the words 'into the oven': "do peca". I interpret the pechi, pachi, as onompatopoeic sounds of making dough. The onomatopoeic sound shuus, would be similar to the english "whoosh" indicating a shoving or throwing. Meanwhile, the words "do peca" are straightforward words (Czech or Slovak) "into the oven" ("do": into, "peca": oven). So, a loose translation: "pit, pat, pit, pat, pit, pat, whoosh - into the oven!". Note: Austria controlled the Czech/Slovak territory for a long time (all the way up North into Galicia, present day Poland), and there is a great deal of shared history and cultural exchanges between the two (Austro-Hungarian Empire). There are also minor dialect differences in the Slavonic languages here (like Moravian).
posted by VikingSword at 1:39 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Umm, family traditions are neat and all, but is it really wise to be shaking that baby's head like a loaf bound for the oven?
posted by Scram at 2:37 PM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody. A fifty-year mystery is solved.

Don't worry, it looks rough, but the baby's head and neck are supported and it's a bouncing, not a shaking. She's not being snapped around.
posted by Toothless Willy at 4:56 PM on July 6, 2011

Response by poster: As for the origin (for the sake of future readers), the family lived in Lansford, Pennsylvania back then, which was a real melting pot -- lots of Russians, Polish, Germans, Irish and so on, all living together and intermarrying. Everyone was Catholic, so it worked. (hamburger.)
So I figured the language could be anything. The regional dialect still has an Irish lilt to it, no matter what the native's genealogy is. So it's not that surprising that an
Austrian woman was singing a Polish rhyme to babies.
posted by Toothless Willy at 6:52 PM on July 6, 2011

There is a Swedish version sort of like this, that also includes a "whoosh - into the oven" part.

Baka, baka liten kaka,
rulla, rulla liten bulla,
ringla, ringla liten kringla.
Mjöla den och pricka den
och… skjuts in i ugnen.

Bake, bake a little cake,
roll, roll a little bun,
Coil, coil a little pretzel
Flour it and prick it
and... whoosh into the oven!
posted by gemmy at 11:07 PM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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