“El Marinero que se fue a la mar y mar y mar a ver qué podía ver y ver y ver y lo único que pudo ver y ver y ver fue el fondo de la mar y mar y mar” which translates to, “The mariner who went to the sea and sea and sea to see what he could see and see and see and the only thing he could see and see and see was the bottom of the sea and sea and sea.”
“So you know how kids learn patty cake patty cake and all that, that’s just one of those things that you learn as a kid. It’s almost like a tongue twister. It’s just a thing kids learn as something to do and play and occupy their time. A lot of girls do with clapping of the hands and circles and things like that. You are suppose to start slow and speed up as you go along.”
The informant is from Medellin, Colombia, but now resides in San Diego. He is 58.
Colombia has coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean, so the rhyme being about the mariner could be significant of the seafaring culture in these regions in Colombia. However, based on my informant’s understanding, this is a predominately linguistic training exercise. Spanish pronunciation of “r” requires the rolling of the tongue, which is a skill that requires practice at a young age to achieve properly. This rhyme has a lot of “r’s” in it to help kids acquire this skill. The progressive speeding up of the rhyme enables players to practice making the noise faster. Clapping helps children with coordination.
To see this done in practice, see this Youtube video: Solis, Maru. “Marinero Que Se Fue a La Mar…” YouTube, YouTube, 29 Sept. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXpsCJqf6n0&feature=youtu.be.