Spanish Kids Song/Cancion Infantil: Un Patito (The Little Duckling)

“Un Patito” (Little Duckling) is a simple Spanish kid’s song, which makes it a good place to start brushing up on your Spanish. One of the special memories of my childhood is of my mother singing “Un Patito” to me, of us singing it together, of singing it with my sister, at many different times and places. already as an adult, I find myself singing it now and then, when there are no children around, simply because it is a happy thing to do.

Lyrics (Letra) to “Little Duckling” in Spanish:

Letra de “Un Patito”:

1. Un patito tengo yo

2. Que mi mama me compro

3. Sabe cantar, sabe bailar

4. Y quando se pon el sol

5. El patito triste está

6. No come ya

7. Y el pobrecito se enfermará

observe: In line 7, my mother always substituted “enfermará”(meaning to become sick) for the original song’s fatal “morirá;” (meaning to die).

Here is a close overall translation:

The overall Spanish to English translation is made to sound like a native English-speaker, to give you a sense of the feeling, the mood, the meaning, of the original piece. Some translations are done to sound poetic in the second language, with an end consequence that can vary greatly from the original. This translation is very close to the Spanish.

Lyrics of “The Little Duckling”:

1. I have a little duckling

2. Which my mother bought for me.

3. It knows how to sing, and it knows how to dance.

4. When the sun sets,

5. The little duckling becomes sad.

6. It loses its appetite, doesn’t eat anymore,

7. And the poor little thing becomes sick.

Here is the information-for-information translation:

A translation with information-for-information harmonies sounds terrible, because the way we express ourselves in different languages varies. However, it is a worthwhile exercise if you want to learn the Spanish sentence structure and expression. Practicing this kind of exercise will help you, when you want to translate something going the other way; from English to Spanish.

Letra [lyrics] de [of] “Un [one] Patito [duckling]”:

1. Un [one] patito [duckling] tengo [have] yo [I]

2. Que [which] mi [my] mama [mother] me [for me] comprá [bought]

3. Sabe [it knows] cantar [to sing], sabe [it knows] bailar [to dance],

4. Y [And] quando [when] se [itself] pon [puts] el [the] sol [sun]

5. El [the] patito [duckling] triste [sad] está [is]

6. No [no] come[eat] ya[anymore]

7. Y [and] el [the] pobrecito [poor little one] se [itself]enfermará [becomes sick]

To truly enjoy the Spanish kid’s song “Un Patito”, you would have to hear it in the joyful sing-song voice of my mother. Nevertheless, I hope these lyrics and translations are useful in improving your Spanish proficiency.

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