kids encyclopedia robot

Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Nyah nyah nyah music notation
The nyah-nyah tune features a descending minor third.

"Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nay" is the lexigraphic representation of a common children's chant. It is a rendering of one common vocalization for a six-note musical figure which is associated with children, is found in many European-derived cultures and is often used in taunting.


"Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah" is seen particularly in the eastern United States and modern Britain. There are many other vocalizations for the tune, as well as other ways of rendering the nyah-nyah version (such as "Nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh"). Other manifestations include:

  • "Neener neener neener" in the United States
  • "Nanny nanny boo boo" in the Southern United States
  • "Na-na na-na boo-boo" in the United States
  • "Du kan ikke fange mig" in Denmark (meaning "You can't catch me")
  • "Na na na na nère" (also "nanananère") in France
  • "Naa na na naa na" in the Netherlands
  • "Na-na-na banana" in Israel
  • "Läl-läl-läl-läl lie-ru" in Finland
  • "Skvallerbytta bing bång" (meaning "Tattletale ding dong") or "Du kan inte ta mig" in Sweden (meaning "You can't catch me")
  • "Ædda bædda buse" in Norway
  • "Lero lero" in Mexico

The tune is also heard in Canada, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Scotland, Poland, and Iceland. Children in Korea use a different figure for teasing, la-so-la-so mi-re-mi-re with the vocalization 얼레리 꼴레리 (eol-re-ri kkol-re-ri) while a Japanese variant is so-so-mi-mi so-mi-mi and in Mexico a so-la-so-mi, so-la-so-mi figure is found.

The initial taunt is sometimes followed by further verses using the same tune, for instance in America "Nanny nanny nanny goat, cannot catch a billy goat" or following "Nanny nanny boo boo" with "Stick your head in doo-doo". French children might follow "Na na na na nère" with "Pouette pouette camembert". In Croatia, children sing "Ulovi me, ulovi me, kupit ću ti novine. Novine su skupe, poljubi me u dupe" (which means: "Catch me, catch me, [if you do that] I'll buy you a newspaper. Newspapers are pricey, kiss my tushie").

While the word "nyah" is now defined as being in and of itself an expression of contemptuous superiority over another, this is by derivation from the "nyah-nyah..." chant rather than vice versa so the "nyah-nyah..." vocalization version of the chant is, at least in origin, an example of communication entirely by paralanguage. Context-meaningful words are sometimes applied ad hoc, though, such as "Johnny is a sis-sy" or "I can see your underwear!" Shirley Jackson referred to it as the "da da, da-da da" or "I know a secret" chant in Life Among the Savages.

Other uses

Non-taunting uses are also seen, also associated with children. One tune for Ring a Ring o' Roses (which is sung to many variant tunes) uses the "Nyah nyah..." musical figure; a common tune for Bye, baby Bunting uses a similar figure, and one for Olly olly in free does also.

Benjamin Britten used the figure in a 1946 opera for a scene where the Roman and Etruscan generals mock each other.

This chant is used in Wario World as the music for the pause screen, performed by the title character Wario.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ña ña ña ña ña ña para niños

kids search engine
Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.