Counting rhyme

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Nursery rhymes , even Anzählreime called, are interactive nursery rhymes . They serve the pure pastime, the pseudo-random assignment of a role in children's games or for the playful processing of taboos .

Process and predictability

With each word , with each syllable or with each stressed syllable, the counter points one after the other to a child standing in a row or in a circle, chooses one with the last point and repeats this until the purpose is fulfilled.

With fixed rhymes, the beginning determines the choice. The number of determining elements exceeds the arithmetic skills of smaller children; the result seems unpredictable to them. Some rhymes have extensions that introduce random components , e.g. B. in Ene mene muh the age of the elected. In other cases the interpretation is simply not synchronized .

Traditional counting rhymes and their area of ​​distribution

The rhymes have a long tradition , are widespread nationally and internationally (trade, travelers, mercenaries) and can contain foreign elements across language barriers. Ene, dene, dorz is the corruption of un, deux, trois .


  • [Ene, mene, miste, it rattles in the box.] Ene, mene, muh and out are you (also ending: ene mene meck, and you're gone , a variation created by the children's program Rappelkiste ). Often he is out with you are far from, tell me first how old you are! added.
  • Little Joe, sits on the toilet, has his finger in his bottom, can't get it out, and you're out. ("Bonanza variant")
  • Some well-known verses are:

One two three four five six seven,
an old woman cooks turnips,
an old woman cooks bacon
and you're gone.

Peter shit in bed,
just on the parade pillow ,
mother saw it
and you have to go.

A little fat lady put
on a pair of pants.
The pants cracked, Dickmadam laughed,
took them off again and you're out.

Newer variant: A little Mickey Mouse
took off (pulls) her pants (shoes)
she puts on again
and it's your turn.

Fire salamander,
legs apart,
legs closed again
and you're out.

Me and you
Müller's cow
Müller's donkey
That's you.

A ship is going to America,
what is it loaded with?
Wine, schnapps or beer? (choose one)
wine wine wine you're a pig
liquor liquor liquor you're a sweetheart
beer beer beer you're a bull.


John F. Kennedy
chewed a piece of gum,
spit it out,
and you're out.


  • A little trippmadam rode a train, a train that crashed, trippmadam that laughed, laughed until the conductor came who took her to the station
  • Ibsche dibbsche Silwwerklibbsche, ibsche dibsche dab and you bit off
  • Ibbe dibbe dab and you push off

Electoral Palatinate

  • Ene dene dorz, ​​de Deiwel lessen en Forz, un omit even ener naus, and you bit out of it (as in many Palatine counting rhymes, the first three words are a corruption of French un, deux, trois .)
  • More modern, high German form: A dene Dörzchen, the devil leaves a Förzchen. He leaves it on a cake - and you have to look!

Front Palatinate

  • Ene dene dorz, ​​de Deiwel lossd en Forz, de Deiwel lossd en dragon damage, the cord is too korz

to bathe

  • Änne dänne doh, kappe nalle noh, ihsefalle bumbenalle, änne danne away.
  • Racing driver Bibele has an onion in his ass, farts it out again and you bit of it.


  • Enzele zenzele zizele tough acorn beichele knäll.
  • Enne denne dubbe denne, dubbe denne dalia, ebbe bebbe bembio, bio bio buff, and you bischt duss (outside). (Set to music by Wolle Kriwanek )

Lower Saxony

Ene mene mopel,
who eats boogers,
sweet and juicy,
for one mark and eighty,
for one mark and ten
and you can go.


Ene micken macken,
eene fru, de kunn nich nich poop,
takes a stick,
drills a hole,
shit half a herring head.


Ene mene mink mank pink pank
ene mene acke backe eia peia away.


Ene mene titschn tatschn
ene in the face klatschn
ene at that
and you're out.


  • Ong dong dee is an old counting rhyme from Homburg. It belongs to the group of counting rhymes, which for the most part consist of a series of syllables with no real meaning. The first four “words” Ong dong dee, kader , a corruption of un deux trois quatre, are relatively clear . Many counting rhymes start with numbers that usually go from one to at least three and a maximum of eight.

The full counting rhyme is:

Ong dong dee,
Kader lemer see,
Lemer sie, lemer so
Die Kabell in Sandimo.
Sandimo the Tebberie,
Teberie the coal brie,
Ong dong dee.


  • Aazelle, Bölle schelle, d Chatz gaat uf Walliselle, chunt si against hot, have si chrummi by, piff, paff puff and you bisch duss - or extended: […] piff, paff, puff and you bisch Ehr und honest duss.
  • Ene dene disse, d Chat het gschisse, piff, paff, puff and you little duss.


  • Änne, dänne, Dindefass, go to school and teach din Sàch! Take care of your home and you can't do anything. Krejsch mi'm Hewel dinni Wix!

Netherlands / Belgium


The name of the children's program Am dam des of the broadcaster ORF 1 is derived from a counting rhyme: Am dam des, disse malle press, disse malle pumperness, am dam des. Originally, this is a Czech counting rhyme that can be roughly translated as follows: Am dam des , you are a little dog, you are a little pumperness, at the dam des (in the original “ty jsi malý pes, ty jsi malý pumprnes”). This verse was written by the Viennese copywriter Leo Parthé .

Additional function

The counting verses also have a taboo-breaking function that is playfully recorded and processed. The German author Peter Rühmkorf made this clear in his collection of verses of this kind. Both social and sexual taboos are touched, sometimes both in rhyme. The following may serve as examples:

Before World War II :

Harry Piel sits by the Nile
washes his stalk with Persil. Mia May
sits next to him , shakes his left egg and you're free.

In the 1950s:

Caterina Valente ,
has an ass like a duck,
has a belly like a cow
and you're out.


In mathematics, an enumeration that determines a final element of a number is treated under the Josephus problem .

See also


  • Heidemarie Kohlen (ed.): Play songs and counting rhymes from the Ruhr area . Marohl Musikverlag, Witten and Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-89006-003-X .
  • Peter Rühmkorf : About national wealth. Excursions into the literary underground. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1967.
  • Renate Sarr: Documentation nursery rhyme. Indexing of the song folders of the German Folk Song Archive in the Center for Popular Culture and Music. Group K XIV: counting rhymes, individual folders. Finding aid. Center for Popular Culture and Music, Freiburg 2014. Digitized version (PDF; 7 MB).
  • Paul Schick : Enne Denne Dorz. Nursery rhymes, street verses and rag songs. Badenia Verlag, Karlsruhe 1979, ISBN 3-7617-0156-X .
  • Colmar Schumann : counting rhymes. In: Folk and children's rhymes from Lübeck and the surrounding area: Contributions to folklore. Borchers Brothers, Lübeck 1899, pp. 90–115. ( Digitized in Wikimedia Commons).
  • Theodor Zink : Palatinate nursery rhymes. Hermann Kayser's Verlag, Kaiserslautern 1911.
  • Gertrud Züricher : Children's songs of German Switzerland. According to oral tradition, collected and edited. by Gertrud Züricher. Swiss Society for Folklore and Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel 1926, here chapter counting rhymes pp. 202–235 and numbers 2832–3392.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ For example, children's songs from German Switzerland. According to oral tradition, collected and edited. by Gertrud Züricher. Swiss Society for Folklore and Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basel 1926, here chapter counting rhymes pp. 202–235, moreover variously in the Swiss Idiotikon (full text search via
  2. ^ Rudolf Post: Palatinate, Introduction to a Linguistic Landscape. Pfälzische Verlagsanstalt, Landau 1990, ISBN 3-87629-183-6 . This counting rhyme originally comes from: Palatine Dictionary V
  3. Signation: am dam des - ORF 1987. YouTube, accessed on January 31, 2012 .
  4. Gudrun Weiland: excursus: serial figure, serial figure - popular hero. In: Driven from one sensational experience to another…” Universitätsverlag, Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-86395-309-6 , p. 225. doi: 10.17875 / gup2017-1036
  5. Renate Sarr: Documentation children's song. Indexing of the song folders of the German Folk Song Archive in the Center for Popular Culture and Music. Group K XIV: counting rhymes . Center for Popular Culture and Music, Freiburg 2014, p. 699 ( [PDF; 7.0 MB ]).