Oma, Omi

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deirdreh

Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hello,

I don't speak German and I need to know the difference between Oma and Omi (and Opa and Opi). I have two ideas:
A) Omi is a diminutive for Oma, or
B) Oma is your dad's mum and Omi is your mum's mum
And all the same with Opa/Opi...
Am I right with one of them? If the right answer is A, isn't Oma a diminutive itself?

Thank you very much!!
 
  • Hutschi

    Senior Member
    "Omi" is a diminutive for "Oma".
    It is the same for Opa/Opi.

    I do not know if "Oma" is a diminutive.
    It depends on regions and family tradition, whether you use "Oma" or "Omi".

    I also heard "Großmutter" ("grandma") and "Großvater" ("grandpa") but it was not used in my own family.

    There is no difference in the names between "dad's mam" and "mam's mam".

    However they are different persons.

    So you need another way to say who you mean.

    One of it may be the location.

    While I said "Oma" and "Opa" to my grandparents, when I spoke to them, I said "mein Haselbacher Opa" or "Mein Steinacher Opa" when I spoke about them, for example.

    There is also Uroma and Uropa who are the parents of Oma and Opa.
    I only had one Uroma when I was born. There where mostly 3-generation families.

    Today there are often four-generation-families.

    The granddaughter of my sister (three years old) calls them all "Oma" or "Opa" and adds the first name sometimes. Oma Margot (who is "Uroma" - or by joke: "Tick-Tack-Oma), Oma Kerstin, Opa Fritz ...

    But there may be different rules in different families.
     
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    Suilan

    Senior Member
    Germany (NRW)
    A) ... diminutive, yes, but thus also more personal/loving/sentimental. You would never call someone else's grandma Omi, but you would say e.g. Patrick's Oma. Also, you might adress your grandma as Omi, but you probably wouldn't use that word if you talked about her to your pals.

    B) In my family, that was actually true. My mother's parents were there for us whenever we needed them (e.g. when my mum was in hospital for a prolonged stay), my father's only when it fitted in with their own plans. My father's mother was more fun (she would read to us, play card games with us and watch T.V., while my mum's mother was rather boring that way) but even so they were more distant. We saw a lot less of them. So my sister, when she was little, started calling my mum's folks Omi and Öpi, my dad's Oma and Opa. (We also had special nicknames for mom's parents but not for dad's.) As a teen, I started to resent the implication: Omi and Öpi we loved, but Oma and Opa not so much? So I started calling Omi Oma too (Öpi was long dead.)

    C) Despite my noble reason, I suspect that as a teen, you simply become embarrassed about calling your grandparents Omi and Opi. ;o)

    D) In some regions, you don't use Omi and Opi at all. I've seen a couple of discussions on various boards where people said that to them it sounded just plain silly.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    So it depends on personal relations and on the situation rather than on lineage whether you say "Oma" or "Omi".

    When you spoke about "more personal/loving/sentimental" - I see that sometimes a child switches between "Oma" and "Omi" depending on situation, for example to "Omi" if he or she is sad or has a wish ("Du, Omi, kannst du mir bitte noch was vorlesen?" - "Grandma, please, can you read out this, please?) or wants to express love ("Omi, ich hab dich ganz toll lieb." )
     

    Lykurg

    Senior Member
    German
    Of course you wouldn't name them "Oma"/"Omi" and "Opa"/"Opi" when talking to a stranger. (This might just be done in some regions).
    The formal version is always "Großmutter" and "Großvater".
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Of course you wouldn't name them "Oma"/"Omi" and "Opa"/"Opi" when talking to a stranger. (This might just be done in some regions).
    In my region "Oma" and "Opa" are used. I never said: "Ich fahre zu meiner Großmutter" but "Ich fahre zu meiner Oma".

    The formal version is always "Großmutter" and "Großvater".
    This is true (especially in documents).

    But even when speaking to a stranger the language is not formal in every case.
    ---

    Diminutive:
    There is also the coll. diminutive form: "Omilein" with the standard diminutive ending "lein". This is to express cosiness.
     

    Aloski

    Senior Member
    German / Bavaria
    deirdre, eine kurze Frage;
    .. man sagt "Yaya" in Spanien for Oma, aber wie sagt man fuer Opa?
    .. in Franzoesisch: "Meme et Pepe", soweit ich mich erinnere.
     

    deirdreh

    Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Even as I only needed to know how to translate Oma, Omi, Opa and Opi (and so I needed to know their meaning), it's good to know so many more things. Thank you, to all of you. :)

    Aloski: "Yaya" is said in some families and in some parts of Spain as a familiar form for Oma (abuela) or Omi (abuelita); for Opa (abuelo) or Opi (abuelito) it would be "yayo".

    "Großmutter" and "Großvater" are translated also as abuela and abuelo.
     
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