Ding Ding Dong

The name of the Christmas song “Jingle Bells” is 圣诞铃声 (something like “Christmas Bells”) in Chinese. But the famous English refrain “jingle bells, jingle bells” in Chinese is the onomatopoeic “叮叮当, 叮叮当,” which sounds like “ding ding dong, ding ding dong” to Western ears. It doesn’t sound at all like sleigh bells ringing to us, it just sounds really funny (or maybe like doorbells). In my experience, every Westerner who learns these Chinese lyrics busts out laughing.

I tried to find a Mandarin Chinese version of “Jingle Bells” using Baidu MP3 Search. All I turned up was a version which I originally thought was Cantonese, but two Cantonese-speaking friends say it isn’t. The refrain definitely sounds like “ding ding dong” though. My guess is it’s Vietnamese. Can anyone identify the language?

I was disappointed because I can’t understand the lyrics, but I think the song may sound even funnier this way. I’m not one to mock any language, but this song — like the Chinese version — just sounds really funny, for cultural reasons, I guess. Give it a listen:

Asian Jingle Bells (1.2MB MP3 file, 64kbps)

I was able to find the Mandarin “Jingle Bells” lyrics, but they obviously don’t match up to this MP3. If you’re interested in the Mandarin version, continue reading below.

Merry Christmas!

《圣诞铃声》

白雪迎风飘飘
大地美丽如画
圣诞老人驾着鹿车
铃儿响叮当

圣诞歌声飞扬
人人欢欢喜喜呀!
普天同庆放声歌唱
圣诞快乐!

叮叮当!叮叮当!铃儿响叮当
带给你好运道
快乐又逍遥

叮叮当!叮叮当!铃儿响叮当
带给你好运道
快乐又逍遥

祝你圣诞节快乐!

Update: The song is in Hakka. Thanks to Aline and Simon for identifying it.

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