Mother, father

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by lazarus1907, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    I am curious about this: In many languages, mother, mum, mom, or mommy are very similar in many languages, and the same goes for father, dad, daddy, pop...

    In European languages it is no surprise, but then, in Chinese they say "mama" (like in Spanish, or "mum/mom" in English) and "baba" (which sounds like in Spanish, or "pop" in English).

    In Japanese this is radically different (except maybe for "haha"): "okaasan" for mother and otoosan and chichi (familiar) for father, which is interesting, considering the strong cultural influence China has had in Japan.

    How do you say both mother and father in your language?

  2. alc112

    alc112 Senior Member

    Concordia, Entre Ríos
    Argentina Spanish
    Te equivocaste de lugar.
    Esto va en All Languages!!
    mi aporte:
    Spanish: Mamá Papá
    German: Mutter Vater
  3. diegodbs

    diegodbs Senior Member

    Basque: ata-aita (father), ama (mother)
    Turkish: ata-baba (father), anne (mother)
  4. vince Senior Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a feeling that perhaps basic words are the ones most resistant to borrowing, so maybe that's why Japanese kept its unique forms. But I might be wrong, since the same numerals are used from Thai to Japanese.

    I wonder if Basque kept its unique forms for father and mother, or whether it adopted pa- and ma- forms from Roman conquerors

    EDIT: my question got answered! looks like Basque kept its unique forms despite heavy cultural influence from Latin and its descendants, Spanish and French. So the same thing probably happened with Japanese.

    EDIT 2: oh wait a minute, ama does sound like "ma" a bit, and "aita", could it be from pater --> fater --> haita --> aita?
  5. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    Gracias, Diego
    Thanks everyone

    The Basque versions I knew, but I had no idea about the Turkish ones. ¿How many languages do you speak anyway?

    It is interesting the presence of the "m" or "n" in mother (or is it my imagination?).
  6. lazarus1907 Senior Member

    Lincoln, England
    Spanish, Spain
    I have the same feeling about the Japanese (I language I personally like). However, for some reason or another, this "mam(a)" similarity could easily be the most (traditionally) internationally common feature in the world for a single word, except for some exceptions. Hence my interest.
  7. diegodbs

    diegodbs Senior Member

    I read once the theory that since m-m-m and p-p-p-p (bilabial sounds) were the first sounds that babies uttered, in the beginnings of human language adults identified them as referring either to mother or father. That's why the striking similarity of these words (baba, mama, papa, mam, etc) in almost all languages. So these words date back to the early human language and not to loans from one language to another. It seems an interesting theory.
    It would be interesting to know these two words in languages belonging to unrelated families, say Urdu and Aymara, or Inuit, Finnish and Hebrew, etc.

    In Russian: mat' (mother), otets (father)

    By the way, in classical Greek: patér, méter.
    In Sanskrit pitár (father). I can't remember the word for mother but it is very similar to Greek.
    No wonder, since they belong to the same Indoeuropean root.
  8. Le Pamplemousse

    Le Pamplemousse Senior Member

    USA, English
    French: Père, Mère
    Latin: Pater, Mater
  9. poul Member

    Danish - Denmark
    Danish : mor / moder (mother)
    Danish : far / fader (father)
  10. Suane

    Suane Senior Member

    In Slovak language:
    Mother = Matka (nobody calls mother in that way), Mama (very common),
    diminutives are Mamka, Mamička (mamichka), slang- Mamča
    (mamcha), to address- Mami (sounds like mummy),...
    Father = Otec, Oco (Otso), diminutives are Ocko, Otecko, Tato, Tatko,
    archaisms are Apko, Naňko, slang- Foter, to address- Oci,...

    Someone mentioned "baba", that is not very good way how to call Grandmother or older woman in Slovakia but also it means girl (sometimes woman) in coloqial or slang way. Diminutive way how to call Grandmother is "babka".
    It will be maybe also interesting to create a topic about Grandparents.;)
  11. Mutichou Senior Member

    France - French
    In French:
    Mother = mère, mummy = maman, father = père, daddy = papa.
    In Chinese:
    媽媽/妈妈 (māma)
    爸爸 (bàba)
  12. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    In Quechua, Mama (mother, also goddess) and Tata (father, also god).

    Children address their parents as Mamay and Tatay (mother mine, father mine).

    You also have such deities as the Pachamama (the earth goddess) and the Saramama (the corn goddess).

    Tata Inti is the sun god and Mama Killa is the moon goddess.

    I'd be interested to see whether any other languages use the same vocabulary for parents and deities. (In Christian English, God is often called "Father".)
  13. weirdgirl Member

    It may be a recent development but in Japan I hear papa and mama used quite often to refer to one's own parents especially by small children.

  14. lotjed_13 Member

    dutch (nederlands)
    mother = moeder
    mum = ma / mam (spoken language) / mams (spoken language)/ mama
    father = vader
    dad = pa / pap (spoken language) / paps (spoken language)/ papa

  15. Roshini Senior Member

    In Malay,
    mother - emak, mak, ibu(formal)
    father - bapa, papa, abah(formal)

    mother - inay, nay, nanay
    father - itay, tay, tatay

    Tamil :
    Mother - amma(pronounced as am - ma)
    Father - appa(")

    Chao! Have fun!
  16. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Some additions:

    mom/mommy = Mutti/Mama
    dad/daddy = Vati/Papa

    mother/mom = أم ('um)/ماما (mama)
    father/dad = أب ('ab)/بابا (baba)

    I just remember two other possibilities: waalida (والدة) and waalid (والد) for mother and father. :)
  17. ronanpoirier

    ronanpoirier Senior Member

    Porto Alegre
    Brazil - Portuguese
    In portuguese:

    Mãe - Mamãe (mother)
    Pai - Papai (father)

    In hungarian:

    Anya - Mama - Anyu (mother)
    Atya - Apu - Páter (father)
  18. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Finnish doesn't follow the rule:

    Mother = "äiti"
    Father = "isä"

    We often use the words "mamma" and "pappa" of Swedish origin.

    Very common slang words are "mutsi" and "fatsi" that seem to be quite close to English although that's not their etymology.
  19. Negg Senior Member

    In persian :

    mâdar = mother
    pedar = father
    mâmân = mum
    bâbâ = dad
  20. charlie2 Senior Member

    There is more to it.
    父親 (fuqin) for "father"
    母親 (muqin)for "mother".
    When you want to say "your father" in a polite way, we have the formal /(old perhaps ?) form of "令尊" (lingzun) for "your father" and "令堂”(lingtang) for "your mother". There you no longer see any trace of the "f" or the "m".
    And if you are talking about your father (or mother) who has passed away, we drop the "qin" and add "先" in front, to make 先父 for "father".
    There are others too, but I don't want to enhance the idea that Chinese is indeed a very difficult language to learn.:)
  21. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Also mamã and papá.

    I think all Christians do. 'Our Father, thou art in Heaven...'

    I'd also be interested in how these words are said in Native American languages and Australian Aborigine languages.

    Here's an interesting table with family names across IE languages.
  22. Temis New Member

    In italian
    Mother = Madre
    Mom = Mamma
    it's very used the term

    Father = Padre
    Papi = Papà, babbo, Pà
  23. beatrizg Senior Member

    Athens, Greece
    Colombia, Spanish
    In Greek:


    Μητέρα (mitera). Also μάνα (mana), μαμά (mamá)


    Πατέρας (pateras). Also: μπαμπάς (babás)
  24. parakseno

    parakseno Senior Member

    Romanian, Romania
    In Romanian:

    mother - mamă
    father - tată
  25. capsi Member

    Bengali : mother -- ma
    father -- baba

    Hindi : mother --- ma , in some places ammí , amma
    father -- baba , bapu (in villages generally )
  26. DanTheMan New Member

    Provo, UT
    English, USA

    어머니: (omoni) Mother
    아버지: (aboji) Father
    엄마: (omma) mom
    아빠: (appa) dad
  27. Jhns

    Jhns New Member

    English , Canada
    HI all
    here is my two pence

    Hebrew (this language is close to Arabic in origin)

    Ima = Mother
    Aba = Father

    Savta = Grandmother
    Saba = Grandfather

  28. alby Senior Member


    Mother - Majka
    Mum - Mama
    father - Otac
    Dad - Tata

  29. id:roya Member

    When a Japanese baby says "manma (まんま)", that means he wants "food", and when he says "oppai (おっぱい)" or "paipai (ぱいぱい)", he wants to suck his mom's breast. Hmm, so I think I can conclude that food and boobs means as a big deal to Japanese as relationships does to other peoples.
  30. macta123 Senior Member

    In Hindi
    Mother/Father - Mata/Pita
    When you call your Mother - Mataji ; Ma ; Mummy
    When you call your Father - Pitaji ; Papa
  31. ayed

    ayed Senior Member

    In Arabic:
    Father : Ab
    ya abi :"Oh!my father"
    ya ommi :"Oh!my mother"
    Childish language:
    Baba : "my father"
    Mama : "my mother"
    Colloquial :
    ya yubah : "Oh!my father"
    ya yummah :"Oh!my mother"
    Nomadic dialct:
    ya yabah :"Oh!my father"
    yayam : "Oh!my mother"

    thank you all

    Ayed's regards
  32. mahaz Member

    Pakistan: Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi
    In Urdu,
    Mother: Maa, Ammi, Amma jee
    Father: Baba, Abu, bao jee
  33. Bosta Member

    English, UK
    Does anyone know any Georgian? I believe that 'mama' means father. :)
  34. JLanguage Senior Member

    Georgia, US
    USA: American English, Learning Hebrew and Spanish
    While those are used in Modern Hebrew, they are borrowed from Aramaic. The Hebrew equivalents are:

    סב \sav
  35. ~*LaNa-J*~ Member

    Israel - Arabic, hebrew
    אם\ em
    אב\ av
    סבא\ sava
    סבתא\ savta

    and 'ema אמא ----- aba אבא
  36. Jagoda

    Jagoda Senior Member

    Bilingual polski-English

    mother = matka
    mommy = mama, more diminutives-mamusia, mamunia, mateczka, matula

    father = ojciec
    daddy = tata, more diminutives-tatus, tatusiek
  37. Fragline New Member

    North of Norway
    Norwegian - Norway

    Mother: Mor
    Mom: Mamma
    Father: Far
    Pop: Pappa
  38. FrancescaVR

    FrancescaVR Senior Member

    New South Wales
    Savunese/English - Australia
    In Savunese (Lii Hawu):

    Papa means father
    Mama means mother


    Ama means father/dad
    Ina means mother/mum

    Ina is also a platonic address for female


    Ama is also a platonic address for male

    Since Savunese are of Hindi (People from India) descendants, the word ama may have derived from paricular dialect (old) from the region. But I don't know for sure. It is only my guess.

  39. FrancescaVR

    FrancescaVR Senior Member

    New South Wales
    Savunese/English - Australia
    In Indonesian:

    Bapak means father
    Ibu means mother

    Ibu can also means madam, Mrs.
    Subtitute to ibu is bu.

    Bapak can also means sir, Mr.
    Subtitute to bapak is pak.
  40. FrancescaVR

    FrancescaVR Senior Member

    New South Wales
    Savunese/English - Australia
    In Danish:

    Mor means mother
    Far means father

    Mor og far means mum and dad (father and mother)


    Morsmor means mother's mother (maternal grandma/grandmother)


    Morsfar means mum's dad/father (maternal granddad/grandfather)


    Farsfar means dad's father (paternal grandpa/grandfather)


    Farsmor means dad's mother (paternal grandmother)
  41. Bienvenidos

    Bienvenidos Senior Member

    Interesting, the word for mother in Pashto is the same as the word for mother in Danish!


    Mother = Mor
    Father = Plar

    Saludos y Suerte
  42. illerdi Senior Member

    Dublin, Éire
    Basque Country, Euskara

    does ata mean father in basque?

    I don't think so. We only use aita.

    aita = father
    ama = mother
  43. Pivra Senior Member

    Mother: มารดา Marda (look like merde and mierda lol) (read Manda )
    Father: บิดา Bida (read Pida )
    Mom= Mae, mama
    Dad= Po, papa

    Something of the fater = Pitu, Something of the mother = Matu

    Motherland in Thai is Matubhumi, and if someone kills his fater it would become an act of Pitughatr and for mother it would be Matughatr
    This word, ปิตร(using Thai alphabets to write since I dont have Devanagari in my computer)
    and for mother in Sanskrit is Mata, but this word, for me has a conotation more with the Mother of the Universe, the Goddess.
    The name of Mt. Everest in Sanskrit is Sakalamata, which means The Mother of the Universe.

    Another word in Sanskrit for mother is Martar (yes... it sounds funny if you are Spanish lol)

    In Thai both Pitar and Martar are used sometimes when you want to take the sentence sounds smooth but only one can be Pitar or Martar.

    Pitar Manda = Father Mother but not Pitar Martar. I don't know why.

    Jawi... I think
    Mom: Ma
    Dad: Pa
  44. en algunas partes del sur de chile


  45. chuff

    chuff Senior Member

    Non-transliterated Russian:


  46. EmmaEvans New Member

    United States of America, English
    Moderator note:
    This thread was started in the wrong forum and was moved here.
    Please, before opening a new thread, search in the forum to make sure your question was not asked -and answered- before.
    Thanks :)

    I want to find names for "father" in as many languages as I can.
    Example: My "father" is the husband of my mother.
  47. belén

    belén Senior Member

    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    Hi Emma, welcome to the forums.
    I have moved your question from the Catalan forum as you ask for something that involves more than one language.

    Spanish : padre
    Catalan: pare
  48. parakseno

    parakseno Senior Member

    Romanian, Romania

    In Romanian you can say: tată, tătic
    (but there are several more, less "literary" forms).
  49. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
  50. tanzhang Senior Member

    PHILIPPINES - Tagalog and English
    In Tagalog:

    Father - Itay, Tatay, Ama.

    My "father" is the husband of my mother.
    -Ang ama ay ang asawa ng inay ko.

    -ama-father, asawa-husband or wife, inay-mother.

    mother - inay, nanay

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