Mama, Papa

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by coquita, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. coquita Senior Member

    Far, far away from home...
    Español (Argentina)
    I find it really interesting that in most languages the words for "mum" and "dad" (in Spanish "mamá" and "papá") are very similar. I can understand why Spanish is similar to Portuguese, French, etc. But how come that even in Chinese it's pronounced "mama" and "baba" ("b" is pronounced almost like a "p")?.

    I'm wondering how these 2 words which are so ancient and essential, got to be so similar, especially when some centuries ago we didn't even know that there were other continents in the world.

    How do you say mum and dad in your own language?. Is there any language in which these 2 words are different?


  2. übermönch

    übermönch Senior Member

    Warum wohne ich bloß in so einem KAFF?
    World - 1.German, 2.Russian, 3.English
    In Hungarian, Russian, German, Old English & Dutch it's "papa" & "mama"
    In German there's also "Vati" & "Mutti"

    In Polish, Ukrainian, Bosnian, Croatian & Serbian it's Tata and Mama.

    In Turkic languages "father" is "Ata"
    In Zulu and Latin "papa" is "Tata"
  3. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    In Gujarati, we say "mammi" and "pappa" (pronounced: mum-mee & pupp-paa)
    In Urdu/Hindi, they say "maa" and "baap" (pronounced just like that)
    In French they say "maman" and "papa" (pronounced: maa-mon (nasalised "n") & pa-pa)
    In German they say "Mutti" and "Vati" (pronounced: Moo-tee & faa-tee)
  4. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There was another thread in the forum about this, Coquita: All languages: mother, father. It's not always as similar to Western languages as you may be thinking.
  5. Honour Senior Member

    Türkçe, Türkiye
    Mum: Anne/Ana
    Dad: Baba/Ata
    formers are modern, latter ones are older (but not archaic)

    i recalled that we also say valide for mum and peder for dad but again they are not very common in daily lang.
  6. cyanista

    cyanista законодательница мод

    I have only heard "Mama" and "Papa" in Cologne but perhaps it varies from region to region.
  7. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I use Mama and Papa, too, but a friend of mine calls them Mutti and Vati. ;)

    Many children also call them Mami and Papi.
  8. tinkerbell0916 New Member

    In Japanese, we say
    "mama" and "papa," pronounced in the same way as English.
    But usually, "mama" and "papa" are used by babies/kids or girls only.
    We use お母さん and お父さん, "okaasan" &"otousan" which is "mother" and
  9. Tisia Senior Member

    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    Father: baba بابا
    Mother: maman مامان

    Father: Bawk باوک
    Mother: Day(e)k دايک

    Father: Isä
    Mother: Äiti

  10. anthodocheio

    anthodocheio Senior Member

    In Greek we say μαμά (mamá) y μπαμπά (babá, like in turkish were we have got it from)

    Mother is: μητέρα (mitera) and
    Father is: πατέρας (pateras)
  11. Xerinola

    Xerinola Senior Member

    Català/Español, Barcelona (SPAIN)

    In catalan we say: Mama i Papa [ it's pronounced: máma and pápa], and we also have Mare i Pare (mother and father)!

  12. Tisia Senior Member

    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    Mitra is name of deity worshipped by ancient Iranians (goddess of loving kindness) and a Iranian female name as well.

  13. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Can you write mitra in the Farsi script? It looks just like the Sanskritic word for friend!

    In punjabi, there are several:
    Mom: maataa, maa, mammii (pronounced: mummy), bebe (in the village), Jhaaii (said with the Punjabi tone, it sounds like "chhaaii"...also used in the village)
    muslims say ammii

    dad: pita, papaa, bapu, babul, pio (village),
    muslims say abba

    In hindi: Mata, maa, mammi, (mom),
    Pita, papa, baap (dad),

    baap is a bit crude though, so dont use it.
  14. Nali Member

    Argentina, Spansih
    I think this is a very clear case of family relationships. In Latin and Sanskrit, from which our modern languages developed, the word "father," for example, is "pater" and "pitar" respectively.
  15. robbie_SWE

    robbie_SWE Senior Member

    Trilingual: Swedish, Romanian & English

    Informal: mamma (mum)
    pappa (dad)

    Formal: mor (mother)
    far (father)


    Informal: mama (mum)
    tata (dad)

    Formal: Aren't any!

    Strange that Romanian actually doesn't have a formal form! :)
  16. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    In Marathi, mother is "aaii" but I dont know what father is...
  17. Sina New Member

    Turco, Turquia
    In turkish its

    Anne & Ana & Valide = Mother = Mama
    Baba & Peder = Father = Papa
  18. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Muslims in India also use Valid and Valida for father and mother, respectively.
  19. Nineu Member

    Euskal Herria / Basque Country
    Mother: ama
    Father: aita/aite

    Mum: amatxu/amatxo
    Dad: aitatxu/aitetxu/aitatxo
    I thought that all the languages use the sound "m" to say "mum" since that's the first sound a baby is able to do...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2015
  20. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
  21. viereaty_blienmest Member

    in Vietnamese we say:
    papa: ba, cha, bố
    mama: mẹ, má

    Glad to help you :D
  22. Tisia Senior Member

    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    Finnish teenagers say faja for father and mutsi for mother but these are only slang and not said by kids or used officially.

  23. kriumif Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    British English
    yes, but these are "mother" and "father"... we are referring to Mum and Dad in this forum... Guess you still use Mama and Papa right? I know that the Bible refers to "Abba" as "Papa`"/Daddy
  24. Tisia Senior Member

    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    ^Only in Persian there is an equivalent for "mama and papa". In Kurdish and Finnish, kids say the same words as father and mother. They don't have equivalents for mama or papa.

  25. showerbabies New Member

    Oakland, CA
    Cantonese / USA
    cantonese - maMA ,baBA
    mardarin - MAma, BAba
  26. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I know in Farsi, they use the suffix "jan" as a term of endearment. So would you say "ammijan" and "abbajan?" They use them in Urdu.
  27. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    ^Oh yes - I've heard that too. It's "jaan" by the way. (long a - "jaaaaan" if you like)
  28. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    sorry...lazy transliteration!
  29. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    Father: Cantonese: baa1*4 baa1 Mandarin: ba4 ba
    Mother: Cantonese: maa1*4 maa1 Mandarin: ma1 ma
  30. stargazer

    stargazer Senior Member

    Slovenia, Slovenian

    In Slovenian, mother is MAMA (or MATI), and father is OČE (also ATA), but of course we use diminutives to refer to our parents. MAMI or MAMICA (for MOTHER), and ATI, ATEK, OČI, also OČKA.
  31. Telugu New Member

    In Telugu
    its Amma for MOM
    Nanna for Dad

    In tamil

    Amma n

    in tamil words are similar to the english words mama and papa but just the first two letters are reversed.
  32. larosa Member

    Hungary, Hungarian
    In Hungarian:

    Anya - mother / anyu - mum
    Apa - father / apu - dad

    "Mama" and "papa" are used for grandparents mostly.

    Grandma can be called "nagyi" as well.
  33. shaloo

    shaloo Senior Member

    And its equally strange that in Telugu(Dravidian/South Indian language),
    we call one's grandfather(but not one's father) as tata.

    Mom: amma
    Dad: naanna (And in Hindi, one's maternal grandfather in called as naana
    (with no stress on the second n).

    Mother: talli
    Father: tandri
    (Both t's here are pronounced like the French t but not the english one )

    Mom: amma
    Dad: appa

    Mother: Taayi (In Marathi, its only aayi)
    Father: Tandey
    (t's here too are pronounced the same like in Telugu)

    Mom/Mother: amma
    Dad/Father: appa

    Mon/Mother: amma
    Dad/Father: achchan

    EDIT: Observe that mom is the same(amma) in all the four major Dravidian languages.
  34. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    I always wondered how the word "aaii" was so different for Marathi's....I guess its because of their proximity with Karnatika.
  35. shaloo

    shaloo Senior Member

    Yeah, after reading your post, even i feel the same.
    (And by the way, its Karnataka not Karnatika.):)

    And one more thing,(i donno if im off the topic, though) is that in Telugu, we say............ Akkada = there and Ikkada = here, which incidentally coincide with their Marathi equivalents.
    This is also may be because Maharashtra shares its borders with Andhra Pradesh.

  36. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Same with the word Nako right?

    What is father in Marathi?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2015
  37. shaloo

    shaloo Senior Member

    Nako in which language do u mean?( or is it nakko in hyderabadi hindi?)

    And father........mmmmm i donno.But i can tell u in about a few minutes time, if u permit me.
  38. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Nakko in Hyderabadi Hindi right?

    Aagyaa hai!!
  39. shaloo

    shaloo Senior Member


    And yes, i just confirmed it with a Marathi friend.
    She says nakko also exists in Marathi(and i guess its from there, perhaps, we hyderabadis got that word)

    Father is Valeeda in Marathi. But dad can be either pappa or baba.
  40. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Aagya ka matlab ijaazat hai na?
    thanks for the info!

    That is your friend muslim by any chance? Valid is the term for Father in Urdu, and Validah is the term for mother.

    Is your Hindi more Hyderabadi or Standard?
  41. shaloo

    shaloo Senior Member

    O Yeah. Its that.
    But u know what? I just took a glance at your sentence and read it as
    ----Aagaya hai! And i was wondering ki ab kya aagaya hai?!
    Thats all.

    No.She's not a muslim. She is from a Marathi brahmin family.

    My hindi is more standard but i understand hyderabadi hindi very well.
    There are some little differences between the two....
    I'll post about it in the thread u started. OK?

    Edit: I felt a new thread could be started about this topic.
  42. Tensai

    Tensai Member

    Chinese Cantonese, Hong Kong
    in old Chinese, they used to call
    'die' 爹, 'a die' 阿爹 for father, (die is pronounced like the kana 'de' で in Japanese),
    'niang'娘, 'ah niang' 阿娘, 'niang qin' 娘親 for mother.

    in modern Chinese
    the formal way to say father is 'fu qin' 父親, mother is 'mu qin' 母親

    these are mandarin pronounciations
  43. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    It's "Waalid" and "Waalidah" (with a 'W').. "Vaalid(ah)" is such a punjabification!! (no offence like..!) - my punjabi friends say that too lol (I think of it like when Gujji's change 'z' into 'j' :p)
  44. brian

    brian Senior Member

    AmE (New Orleans)

    pater = father
    mater = mother

    Ancient Greek:

    πατηρ = pater (long e) = father
    μητηρ = meter (long e's) = mother

    Oddly enough, Homer writes πατηρ in direct address as παππα:

    παππα φιλ', ουκ αν δη μοι εφοπλισσειας απηνην
    υψηλην ευκυκλον...

    Papa dear, won't you prepare for me a lofty, well-wheeled wagon?

    --Odyssey, VI.57

    So that goes pretty far back.

  45. Aristo Member

    Hong Kong
    In Chinese:

    mama = mother
    papa = father
  46. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    غریب الوطن
    Am. English
    Really? Interesting hehe. Do you use this term ?
  47. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    ^No, but I hear it a lot. I don't speak Urdu at home, but we hear it at the mosques in speeches and stuff.
    And sorry - I meant to say "with a 'w'" (not: "with a 'h') in my previous post. lol
  48. karuna

    karuna Senior Member

    The planet Earth
    Latvian, Latvia

    papa – tētis
    mama – mamma

    Sometimes the vocative forms can be irregular: tēt (instead of tēti), mammu (instead of mamma)!

    Often deminutive forms are used: tētiņš, mammiņa, māmiņa.

    For comparison the neutral terms:
    father – tēvs
    mother – māte

    There is also a word paps which roughly means dad.
  49. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    American English, Palestinian Arabic
    In colloquial Palestinian Arabic, there are two possibilities:

    Mama: Maama or Yamma
    Papa: Baaba or Yaaba

    In standard Arabic, one would say Ummi (أمي) and Abi (أبي).

    In Hebrew, one says Iima (אמא) and Aaba (אבא).

    (vowels doubled to indicate length)
  50. Becker Member

    In Sinhalese mother is ammaa and father is taat-taa

    Some kids say ammi and taat-tii which I guess would correspond to "mummy" and "daddy" as opposed to the more formal "mother" and "father."

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