child, niño ...

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by francisgranada, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. francisgranada Senior Member


    What is the word for "child" in your language and what is it's origin and/or etymology?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    In Russian the singular and the plural for “child’ are of different origin (like “person” and “people” in Eglish): sing. pебёнок /rebionok/ and pl. дeти /deti/.

    I just looked both up and was surprised to learn that ребёнок is a cognate of рaб /rab/, “slave” and is also a cognate of “orphan”. The explanation given in the etymological dict. was that adopted orphaned children did the hardest work in the home.

    The plural comes from the old-fashioned word дитя /ditya/ that has cognates in many (may be most?) Slavic languages. it is related to Indo-European *dhēi̯- (to suck / to nurse).
  3. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member


    In Greek:

    Child: «Παιδί» [pe'ði] (neut.) < Byz. neuter diminutive «παιδίον» pædíon, of Classical 3rd declension masc. -and rarely fem. noun «παῖς» paês (Arcado-Cypriot «δίπας» dípas, Aeolic Boeotian & Lesbic «πάϊς» páis) --> child, boy, servant, (rare) girl, daughter, from PIE *peh₂u-, few, little (cf Skt. पुत्र (putrA), son; Lat. adj. parvus, - a, - um, small, little > Sp. Por. parvo)
  4. francisgranada Senior Member

    After having read your interesting answers, I have a "subquestion" as well:

    The word for child (i.e. "a little human being" :)), can be used in your language to express also the relation of the child to his/her parents, even if he/she is already grown up?

    For example, in Slovak a parent can always speak about his/her deti (children) even if those "children" are no more "little children" (practically independently on the age, in this context) ... But in Italian figli (lit. "sons") should be the corresponding word in this case (i.e. not "bambini").
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2013
  5. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Yes Greek parents refer to their offspring as «παιδί [pe'ði] (neut. nom. sing.) or «παιδιά» [pe'ðʝa] (neut. nom. pl) regardless of age (and gender)
  6. DearPrudence

    DearPrudence Dépêche Mod (AL mod)

    French (lower Normandy)
    I'm not good with etymology, but apparently in French:
    "enfant" (nmf) < Latin, infans (= that doesn't speak)

    We also use "enfant" when you are an adult, to talk about your children/sons/daughters.
    "J'ai deux enfants : un fils de 21 ans et une fille de 29 ans."
    (I have two children: a son who's 21 and a daughter who is 29)
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Dutch:
    - kind, -eren (children, general) - it seems related with the English 'kind', but in the sense of 'of the same family' ; it refers to both age and to relationship (his/ her children)
    - peuter, -s (toddlers) and kleuter, -s (4-6)
  8. Ёж! Senior Member

    "Дети" (plural) can, not without reluctance; "ребёнок" (singular) – hardly.
  9. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    - child, from a Germanic word barna- and an Indoeuropean word with the meaning to bear, to carry as in giving birth (compare the meaning of the English word born by a woman)
    Spädbarn - infant, a child less than a year old, späd means tender, so it's a tender child

    Ens barn är alltid ens barn oavsett ålder - one's children are always one's children, regardless of their age (barn is the same in both singular and plural)
  10. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    The word "BATA' " of Tagalog means Child/Ninio. The old form of human in early Tagalog is "ATA" and maybe the letter B in this word means "Bulilit"(small one). Child= Bata'/ Children=Mga Bata'.
  11. arielipi Senior Member

    child as an age factor - ילד\ה yeled\yalda (m/f)
    child as son/daughter בן\בת ben/bat (m/f)
  12. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    dítě (sing.), děti (plur.) from IE root dhē- (cf. Lat. fellare, femina, Gr. thele)

    Děti (plur.) can be used for sons/daughters of any age.
  13. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    The Norwegian word for child is also barn and for infant you can use spedbarn or lite barn.
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  14. francisgranada Senior Member

    gyerek, gyermek (incertain origin/etymology), used for sons/daughters of any age.

    dieťa sg., deti pl. (the same etymology as the Czech dítě #12), used for sons/daughters of any age.
  15. francisgranada Senior Member

    niño (origin according to DRAE: "De la voz infantil ninno"). As far as I know, used only for "little children".

    As similar words (nene, nena, ninno, ninna ...) exist also in other Romance languages (e.g. Neapolitan), I wonder if a corresponding word did exist already in Latin?

    In other words, what was the classical Latin equivalent for child? Is "infans" the only known word or there did exist also other (perhaps more "colloquial") terms for it?
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  16. origumi Senior Member

    Moabite (extinct Canaanite language): גור = gur (goor). In the similar Biblical Hebrew gur denotes the young of certain mammals like lion, jackal. in modern Hebrew it's the young of many more mammals like dog, cat, whale, but not cow, sheep. It may be related to root g-w-r = dwell, as if a child is one who still dwells in his parents' house, lair (but maybe this etymology was rejected by newer authorities).

    Aramaic: there are several alternatives, among them: רביא = rabhia, I don't know the etymology. טליתא = talitha for a girl, I think it's a cognate of Hebrew tale/talia (m. and f.) = lamb, young.
  17. arielipi Senior Member

    בר bar in aramaic is son (of)
  18. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Infans (in privative + present participle of fari = to speak) means non-speaking, non-eloquent (infantes statuae = taciturn statues, infans homo = a non-eloquent man). As a noun infans (m. or f.) means infant, baby.

    older children: puer, puella or filius, filia;

    in plural: liberi (= the free);

    nanus (Gr. nannos) = dwarf;

    That's all I know.
  19. Codinome Shlomo Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazil)
    The word for child in Portuguese is "criança".
    It comes from Latin creare, that is related to crescere (to grow). Crescere, in turn, comes from Indo-European "ker-" ("to grow").

    Children may be called "menino" (boy) or "menina" (girl), from Latin minimus (little).
  20. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    Infant: رضيع /rađee3/ (pl. رضع /ruđđa3/)
    Child: طفل /ţefl/ (pl. أطفال /aţfaal/)

    In colloquial Egyptian, we use the word "Noono" or "Nunna"
  21. AquisM Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Chinese: 儿童/兒童 or 小童(formal term for child/children)
    小孩子 (lit. little kid) or 小朋友 (lit. little friend) (kid/little boy/girl)

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