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Monkey see, monkey do is a saying that popped up in American culture in the early 1920s. The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. Another definition implies the act of mimicry, usually with limited knowledge and/or concern of the consequences.
The saying could originate from the folklore of Mali, West Africa, made well known by Esphyr Slobodkina's retelling, which she calls Caps for Sale (A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business). There are also various other versions of this folk-tale, such as The Hatseller and the Monkeys by Baba Wagué Diakité, set in Mali.
In French, the same saying exists: Singe qui voit, singe qui fait.
Jazz singer-songwriter Michael Franks used the saying as the subject and title of his song "Monkey See – Monkey Do" on his 1976 album "The Art of Tea". A television show of the same name aired on PBS Kids Sprout
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