The Geography of Draznilkas.

Back in 2003 I posted about the draznilka, “a short, humorous verse used by children to tease, taunt and play pranks on other children.” I linked there to an article by Halina Weiss which I commend to the attention of non-Russian-speakers, because they won’t get anything out of the new article I’m posting about, “Картография и хронология жадин” [The cartography and chronology of greedy people], the belated but superb followup to a poll N + 1 carried out back in February asking readers to send them their versions of the well-known draznilka whose most common form is:

солёный огурец,
по полу катается,
никто его не ест.

Greedy person, beef,
pickled cucumber,
lying on the floor,
nobody eats it.

It uses charts, graphs, maps, and other means to provide the detailed results showing who says what where (and the difference it makes what generation you’re part of). If you read Russian, it’s a real delight. Thanks, Alexey!


  1. Zhadina-govyadina (greedy beef) taunt is designed to shame someone into sharing his toys.

    Communism starts in kindergarten

  2. It is sad to know that the drum-belly is on the way out, probably washed away by the migration flows and lower birth rates of the Muscovites

  3. Yes, I felt the same way.

  4. Not fair!
    nearly 6000 words in the article and not a single mention of the competing opening – ябеда-корябеда – yabeda-koryabeda – tell tale tit.
    It has the same variations in the following lines as zhadina-govyadina. Myself, I am a ‘Turkish drum’, not the gherkin.
    I was visiting a Russian friend who is married to an Englishman, quite fluent in Russian. Most of the evening was giggles caused by man saying the draznilka slightly wrong – zhadnaya govyadina instead of zhadina-govyadina.

    I read with delight and amusement Weiss’s article (missed that post before), very interesting, but thorough as she is, some of the examples she provides surely would be classed as chastushki (bawdy rhymes or, in certain examples, black humour rhymes), not draznilki.

  5. Yes, I noticed that too.

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