Discussion in 'Polski (Polish)' started by Sensuous linguist, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Sensuous linguist New Member

    Chicago, US
    English - US
    Many people of Polish heritage refer to their grandma as ,busia'. However, in correct Polish, the word is ,babcia'. What is the origin of ,busia'? Czy jest po góralsku? Is it a bad pronunciation of the word ,babcia'? Pozdrawiam.
  2. .Jordi. Senior Member

    Hi and welcome on Wordreference.
    I've never heard that word, but I think it's some kind of abbreviation of the word babusia (deminutive of babcia).
  3. Faycelina Senior Member

    Where are those people from? I've never heard anyone calling grandma 'busia'.
    What I know and heard are:
    - babcia
    - babunia
    - babciunia
    - babi (that was I think copyright my friend's daughter whose one of first words was 'babi' and she keeps calling her grandma this way although she's a teenager now ;))
  4. konfit New Member


    I havn't heard anyobne saying "busia" for grandma. The only association I have with this word is a shorter form of female name Bożena
  5. PolonusKing Junior Member

    Słyszałam, ale rzadkie, w rodzinie, nie powszechne. Może stąd, że kiedyś "busiać" znaczyło dawać buzi, obsypywać pocałunkami; busiak to regionalnie buziak.Ale BARDZO malo popularne.
  6. Slovianka Senior Member

    I think many middle-aged women who become grandmothers do not feel ready to be called grandma - "babcia". That is why their grand-children are taugtht to call them otherwise. The other reason for using less usual names may be that a child invents itself a name for its grandmother. For instance it may say that its mother is mamusia, and grandmother - busia. This sweet name does not seem strange to me, as it comes from "babusia".
  7. NotNow Senior Member

    Busia is often used by Americans of Polish descent who think they can speak Polish but who are really speaking "po polsku po chicago." They come up with classics such as Poszła z boyfriendem do downtownu or moje shoesy zillują mnie.

  8. Marcus Africanus

    Marcus Africanus Senior Member

    Poland: Zakopane
    Polish & German
    It is beautiful and I know this case from my Polish/German family - they talked sometimes such an "idiolekt" (I don't know in Eng.) that you couldn't follow if you were from outside the family. Really crazy things like:
    Macie reinkomować, bo już anfangowali. [reinkommen - to come in, anfangen - to begin]
    - Ostróż te pyry! [pyry - potatos]
    - A gdzie są?
    - W eimeru na trepach. [Eimer - bucket, Treppen - stairs]
    There are often old language forms that are mixed in and such a form can be also "busia" < "babusia". My Mother (79) says they said only "babusia" to grandma.
    By the way my neighbour, an 40 years old strong muscleman, says to his 90 years old grandma and also when he speaks about her: Babunia.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  9. Marcus Africanus

    Marcus Africanus Senior Member

    Poland: Zakopane
    Polish & German
    The Polish Highlanders say for "grandma": babka.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  10. kymbrunner New Member

    I don't speak Polish, but my paternal grandparents were born in Poland and didn't come to America until they were in their 20's. My dad says that they were from the Polish Highlands. We always called my grandma "Busia," and never anything but. We were raised in Chicago, and so maybe there is some truth to the statement, "Busia is often used by Americans of Polish descent who think they can speak Polish but who are really speaking "po polsku po chicago." In truth, that sounded a bit condescending, but I wouldn't doubt the existence of a Polish-Chicago dialect. There are a ton of Poles here, for sure. :)

    My father speaks fluent Polish (having had two Polish-speaking parents), and that is the term we always used. Not being a native Polish-speaker, I can't tell you where it came from or why, but I know many other Chicago poles who use that term. I've written a humorous teen novel about a Polish girl who lives with her mom and her "busia" above their Polish bakery (tentative title: One Smart Kolachky), so I'm hoping to introduce the term "Busia" to the world someday, should I be lucky enough to sell my novel. :)
  11. NotNow Senior Member

    I did not intend to be condescending. When I wrote that post, I was thinking of Americans of Polish descent who go to Poland and become belligerent because Poles do not understand them. I have seen situations when they have even accused Poles of not speaking Polish! The Americans don't realize that they are using vocabulary that is 100 or 200 years old. Kołacz is a good example.
  12. kymbrunner New Member

    Thanks for clearing that up. :) [...]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2013
  13. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Welcome to the forums, Kim. :)

    "busia" sounds very nice and warm to me comparing to many Polonised English words. Jordi's guess about its origin looks plausible to me.
    I think that the use of obsolete or even archaic vocabulary isn't as jarring on our ears as English words made Polish, though we do unwittingly the same to a certain extent in Poland too. [...]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2013
  14. Sophiesweet New Member

    My parents were both born in Chicago from Polish families and we always used the term Busia as well. Your novel sounds great....have you had any luck with it??
  15. dreamlike

    dreamlike Senior Member

    This word is non-existent in my idiolect or, say, for want of a better word, variety of Polish spoken in my area. It sounds as though it was coined by Poles living in Chicago or somewhere close to that city. I can't say I like it very much.
  16. jasio Senior Member

    I can't say exactly, but I seem to recall finding the word in a book for youth published in Poland in '70s.
  17. kymbrunner New Member

    YES! I sold ONE SMART COOKIE to Omnific Publishing in October, 2013. Came out July 15, 2014. It's on Amazon in both ebook and paperback form and they kept the term BUSIA throughout! ;) Thanks for asking! SmartCookie_Cover SMALL.jpg

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