When you think of nursery rhymes, do you think of innocent, silly games you played as a child? Think again. Most of the nursery rhymes that have become so popular with the children were never intended for them. Most began as folk songs or ballads sung in taverns. These songs (rhymes) all most always were written to make fun of religious leaders or to gossip about kings and queens (Brittanica pars. 1-5). Nursery rhymes are being studied the past few decades as a way to help children learn their alphabet and numbers. These rhymes have been proven affective in helping children's language skills improve. As I began to explore different nursery rhymes, I found that they opened up and disclosed some of the secrets, light and dark of the persons, animals, or familiar places they were written about. The Encyclopedia Britannica define nursery rhymes as verses that are customarily told or sung to small children. The oral tradition of these rhymes are ancient some dating back as early as the 1500's, but most date form the 16th, 17th and most frequently the 18th centuries. ( Brittanica pars. 1-5).
Nursery rhymes have been around for centuries, but the name has not. According to the World Book Encyclopedia the phrase "Nursery Rhymes" did not originate until 1824 in a Scottish periodical called Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine. Before this time, rhymes were referred to as "ditties" or songs. Many scholars believe that parts of these rhymes were taken from ballads, prayers, proverbs, street chants, or tavern songs. Some people believe that these rhymes may even have once been used for certain rituals or customs. Most were based on real people, places or things. These rhymes were mainly used to entertain adults and only ones pertaining to the alphabet or counting were meant for children. Many of these rhymes did not come about until the 1600's, but there is evidence of some being around earlier. There are eight categories of rhymes: L...
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