Books & Music

People Are Up In Arms About This New Version Of The Alphabet Song

There's apparently more than one way to sing LMNOP!

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s as easy as learning your ABCs,” right? Most of us learned our letters by singing the classic alphabet song and still use it from time to time. Honestly, it’s hard to even imagine going through the letters without the familiar tune running through our heads.

This week, though, many people were introduced to a new arrangement of the iconic teaching song via the internet. Comedy writer Noah Garfinkel tweeted a video of the song from the educational company Dream English Kids that takes the well-known song and makes a pretty drastic change about midway through the tune.

The changes are significant, even if the tune is almost the same. First, the tempo is slowed way down throughout the song. But it’s the “L-M-N-O-P” section that has people up in arms.

Traditionally, the alphabet song sort of smushes those letters altogether, making them sound more like “Elemenopee” than a run of separate letters. The Dream English Kids version opts to give the letters some room to express themselves. There’s a pause and a different rhythm for each of those letters to distinguish each one instead of rushing through them. Plus, there’s a long pause after “N,” rather than after “P” where we are used to it.

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Clearly, based on the fact he called it “life-ruining,” Garfinkel, who has written for TV shows like “Workaholics” and “New Girl,” did not approve of the changes made to the song. Since he posted the video on Oct. 25, it has nearly 9 million views and many people are sharing his outrage over the new version.

Beth McColl, author of the book “How to Come Alive Again,” agreed with Garfinkel. Saying the new version “does not slap in the slightest.” Her response got more than 7,000 likes.

Twitter user @Adamation summed up his thoughts by posting a screenshot of two neighboring letters. His clever tweet got more than 43,000 likes.

While this video just went viral, it actually isn’t new and it isn’t the only remixed version of the ABCs. Dream English Kids first released the controversial video in 2012. The singer in the video, known only as Matt, explained to The New York Times why the changes are important.

The company’s educational videos are meant for an audience of new English learners, typically who are learning it as a second language. During research on producing the videos, Matt said one of the books he read suggested slowing down the letters is helpful.

“The book said that if you can find an ABC song with a slow L-M-N-O-P, it is very helpful for young learners to recognize each letter,” he told the newspaper. “As a musician and teacher, I decided to make my own version. That was about 10 years ago.”

Monolingual Hispanic Students Learn English
Getty Images | Mario Villafuerte

Of course, changing a beloved children’s classic is bound to stir up some opinions. What do you think of the new version? Do you like it or is it a firm N-O?