Polish word or vernacular?: "busha" for "grandma"

dharasty

Senior Member
American English
Seeking assistance to solve a little bit of a family mystery:

My grandmother elected to have her grandkids call her "Busha", which I was always told was Polish for "grandmother". Then, when my mother became a grandmother, she elected the same.

Seeking to verify this (as I'm now writing my mother's eulogy), I can only find the word "babcia" as Polish for grandmother.

Any ideas where my grandmother may have derived "Busha" for grandmother?

Perhaps her maiden name is a hint: "Kosour".

Perhaps it is related to her ancenstral language: I think she may have considered her parents Bohemian.

Perhaps this is just Polish vernacular, and the rough equivalent of (English) "granny" or "grams" for grandmother.

Thanks for your help!
 
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  • jasio

    Senior Member
    "Bohemian" actually means "Czech", so it might have been a remnant of a regional word from the Polish-Czech frontier, like in Śląsk/Slezsko/Schlesien/Silesia.

    On the other hand, it might have been a familiy tradition. Across the country you may encounter not only 'babcia' (which probably is the only form found in dictionaries), but also 'babunia', 'bunia', 'babisia', 'babusia' - and 'busia' (that would be the Polish spelling of the word you asked for) is quite close to the latter.

    Edit: babusia - Słownik SJP
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Seeking assistance to solve a little bit of a family mystery:

    My grandmother elected to have her grandkids call her "Busha", which I was always told was Polish for "grandmother". Then, when my mother became a grandmother, she elected the same.

    Seeking to verify this (as I'm now writing my mother's eulogy), I can only find the word "babcia" as Polish for grandmother.

    Any ideas where my grandmother may have derived "Busha" for grandmother?

    Perhaps her maiden name is a hint: "Kosour".

    Perhaps it is related to her ancenstral language: I think she may have considered her parents Bohemian.

    Perhaps this is just Polish vernacular, and the rough equivalent of (English) "granny" or "grams" for grandmother.

    Thanks for your help!
    Most probably she was called "busia", which is short for "babusia", which is a diminutive of second grade of "babcia" which is a diminutive itself.
    The word "busia" is never pronounced as "busha" in Polish. "Busha" sounds utterly wrong for Polish speakers (like pronouncing the word "that" as "zet" would sound for anglophones).
    "Kosour" does not sound like a Polish name, no Polish word ends in "-our". Maybe it was Kocur or Kosur? (the 'u' like in "put").
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I doubt that average English speakers will actually notice the difference between "ś" (in its standard pronunciation at least) and "sz". For them both will be "sh".
    I know, I know … but for us it sounds like scratching a plate with a fork. I always advise foreigners that can't pronounce the 'ś' sound to replace it with 'sy' (busya), which sounds much better and is easier to understand.
     

    jasio

    Senior Member
    I doubt that average English speakers will actually notice the difference between "ś" (in its standard pronunciation at least) and "sz". For them both will be "sh".
    They may actually hear the difference, yet they would still interprete or remember both consonants as "sh". Especially in isolated words, with no contrast between the two.

    Actually, recently I asked this very question to an American. He told me that he clearly hears the difference, yet he is unable to reproduce it. He's not an average English speaker though.

    I know, I know … but for us it sounds like scratching a plate with a fork. I always advise foreigners that can't pronounce the 'ś' sound to replace it with 'sy' (busya), which sounds much better and is easier to understand.
    Nice trick, thank you.
     

    RomanBoukreev

    Member
    Russian
    On the other hand, it might have been a familiy tradition. Across the country you may encounter not only 'babcia' (which probably is the only form found in dictionaries), but also 'babunia', 'bunia', 'babisia', 'babusia' - and 'busia' (that would be the Polish spelling of the word you asked for) is quite close to the latter.
    "Bunia" is the very similar to the thing which is my mom hear in Voronezh Oblast. There was the grandmother called "Baba Dunia". I don't know how it is either related to Polish or another language, but it is similar (if I recalled it correctly, Dunia is not her actual name). In the same place you could hear Polish-Ukrainian дуже/duże, Polish-Ukrainian аж/aż. Honestly, the language in Voronezh interconnects with Ukrainian, and that was a fact before the Ukrainian crisis (a lot of people in the city speaks Russian with Ukrainian accent here from 1960s due to the location near Ukraine). I think that 90% of the Ukrainian source, but maybe you recall something else.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    if I recalled it correctly, Dunia is not her actual name
    Dunya is a diminutive of Avdot'ya or Yevdokiya.
    In the same place you could hear Polish-Ukrainian дуже/duże, Polish-Ukrainian аж/aż.
    "Аж" is, SUDDENLY, entirely standard Russian. "Дуже" is a very widespread dialectal form of "дюже" (Northern as well as Southern), and the latter exists in dictionaries of the standard Russian language; cf. also "дюжий".
    Honestly, the language in Voronezh interconnects with Ukrainian
    Not really. There is no proper dialectal continuum between Russian and Ukrainian (unlike between Russian and Belarusian) - although there is a lot of settlements founded by Ukrainians in Voronezh oblast, and the southern part was originally colonized by ethnic Ukrainians (even though some Russian presence must have had existed before that). Say, in Boguchar rayon the share of ethnic Ukrainians was 51% by the 1939; now the absolute majority is assimilated - although, of course, the everyday language in local rural settlements is still a form of Eastern (Slobozhanshchina) Ukrainian heavily influenced by Russian. Of course, it isn't very difficult to differentiate it from neighbouring varieties of South Russian.
     
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    NotNow

    Senior Member
    English
    I've noticed that many Americans of Polish descent use the word busha. They also use something like ja-ja for dziadek. This is especially true for people whose parents or grandparents came over in the early 20th century. They seem to have developed their own little language.
     
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