GERMAN POP LYRICS
Suzanne Doucet released a series of singles in the mid-sixties in Germany. Like many of her contemporaries her songs often fell somewhere between Schlager and the hipper sounds being produced in France by the Yé-Yé girls.
By 1967 the hits were drying up and Doucet changed direction, moving towards a quieter folk based style. This song, which she wrote herself, was her entry to the Knokke Cup song festival. It’s a gentle protest song, completely different to the upbeat pop she was best known for. It didn’t win but the more thoughtful sound did revive her career.
NB I got the German lyrics from this blog: http://www.tantepop.de/2011/10/kleinode-deutschsprachiger-musik-26.html.
Also, thanks to various people at Lyrics Translate for suggesting improvements to my original translation.
KLEINE KINDER Kleine Kinder Kleine Kinder müssen spielen Kleine Kinder Wissen nicht womit sie spielen Panzer, Blei und Zinnsoldaten Blechkanonen, Pappgranaten, Die die Eltern ihnen schenken Ohne einmal nachzudenken… Über Kinder Kleine Kinder müssen sterben Kleine Kinder Wissen nicht wofür sie sterben Ob für Vietnam und China Ob für Kuba, Palästina Was wir 1000 Kindern stehlen Wenn wir einen Krieg befehlen Im Vorübergehen braucht man nicht so richtig hinzusehen Im Vorübergehen werden Mörder plötzlich groß und schön Denn für bunte Spielzeugorden darf man kleine Kinder morden Trotz des Grauens aller Kriege Diese ewig neue Lüge… Große Kinder Große Kinder wollen spielen Große Kinder Wissen längst womit sie spielen Panzerkreuzer und Soldaten Bomben, Flieger und Granaten Die sie wieder Kindern schenken Ohne einmal nachzudenken… über Kinder
LITTLE CHILDREN Little children Little children have to play Little children Don’t know what they’re playing with Tanks, lead and tin soldiers Metal toy cannons, cardboard shells That their parents give them Without even thinking… About children Little children have to die Little children Don’t know why they’re dying Whether for Vietnam or China Whether for Cuba, Palestine What we steal from 1,000 children When we order a war In passing One doesn’t need to look straight at it In passing Murderers are suddenly big and beautiful Because for colorful toy medals One may kill small children Despite the horror of all wars That same old lie that is always repeated... Big children Big children want to play Big children Already know what they’re playing with Armoured cruisers and soldiers Bombs, planes and shells they give children again Without even thinking… about children
I decided to have a look at German adjectives in this post, hoping they would be relatively simple, but I seem to have opened a can of worms…
In Germany when you order a beer you often get the reply ‘Groß oder klein?’ (‘Big or small?’)
Here we use the root form of the adjective ‘klein’. However, in the title of the song ‘Kleine Kinder’ the adjective ‘klein’ comes with an ‘e’ is added. Why?
If you use a definite article then the gender of the noun makes no difference and an –e is added to the adjective in all instances. However, an extra –n is added to the plural.
Masculine: (schnell / fast): Der schnelle Tiger (the fast tiger).
Feminine: (jung / young): Die junge Dame (the young lady).
Neuter: (klug / clever): Das kluge Kind (the clever child).
Plural: (gut / good): Die guten Bücher (the good books).
However, for indefinite articles the pattern is different. Masculine nouns add –er, Feminine nouns add –e and neuter nouns add –es. For plurals (with no article) you add –e.
Masculine: (schnell / fast): Ein schneller Tiger (a fast tiger).
Feminine: (jung / young): Eine junge Dame (a young lady).
Neuter: (klug / clever): Ein kluges Kind (a clever child).
Plural: (gut / good): Gute Bücher (good books).
This is confusing, but one tip is to use the definite articles to help you remember this pattern:
Masculine: Der Tiger => Ein schneller Tiger (a fast tiger).
Feminine: Die Dame => Eine junge Dame (a young lady).
Neuter: Das Kind => Ein kluges Kind (a clever child).
Plural: Die Bücher => Gute Bücher (good books).
So finally we can see why the title of the song is ‘Kleine Kinder’ – Kinder is plural and there is no article so an –e is added to the adjective.
NB Above I only considered the Nominative case, the simplest case in German.
Please note that most of the examples here are taken from this excellent article: http://german.speak7.com/german_adjectives.htm