Remember your nursery days? How we were made to sing One little, two little, three little Indians and were taught how to count? And how some amused us with little horror stories, like, Hickory dickory dock, three mice ran up the clock, the clock struck one and the others got away with minor injuries? And those that taught us of life and the importance of always being prepared, like, Jack and jill went up the hill to have a little fun, stupid jill forgot the pill and and now they have a son?
Yeah, good old days they were. I particularly remember singing Qué será será, what ever will be will be. Back then the only thing I understood of the rhyme was that it was about a little girl called Sarah. Now don’t laugh, we all have our shares of stupid mistakes.
It was not until about a month ago, when I was listening to the Spanish future tense lessons of one of Michel Thomas audio courses, that it finally dawned on me that I’ve been in dark all this time. The verb ser, meaning ‘to be’ in Spanish, becomes será in the third person future tense. So qué será será in fact means what will be will be! Dayum!
Okay, you may have known this from the beginning, perhaps it was only me. But hey, did you know who originally sang Qué será será? And who taught her to speak Spanish? It was Doris Day. First recorded in 1956. And Michel Thomas himself was her Spanish instructor, who taught her how to speak the Spanish accent confidently! I bet you didn’t know that before. It’s okay, coz there are 10,000 ppl learning something for the first time every day according to xkcd. Here’s Doris performing the song, in a movie I couldn’t find the name of:
See how she opens her mouth wide to pronounce ‘será’ confidently?
Doris wasn’t the only star to take lessons from Michel Thomas. From Bob Dylan to Jeffrey Archer, his list of clients was quite long. His audio courses and especially his teaching method, known as the Michel Thomas method, have been favorites of language learners all over the world. Born a Jewish boy in Poland, he’d been sent to live in Germany, only to be driven away by Nazies to France, wherein he was finally captured and kept in a Nazi concentration camp. Michel survived, but left for US after learning of his family’s death.
Life in this myriad of cultures had already made him a polyglot. If you’re into languages, his courses can be highly recommended.
And I’ve begun to look back on the nursery rhymes after this. Does Hey diddle diddle, the cat did a piddle have some hidden meaning too?