Why Our Mothers Have Nicknames?
Mother’s day is coming and I realized that mothers all over the world are called in different kinds of endearment.
So, I just want to share with you some ideas how this started. The word “mom”, is widely believed that the word was born from the much older word “mamma” which itself can be traced back to the 1500s in English. This, in turn, can be traced back to Latin where “mamma” meant “breast” or “teat”. From this word, we also got the word “mammalia” and later “mammal” to describe animals that suckle their young.
This brings us to the amazing part- a word extremely similar to “mom” occurs in almost every language on Earth. We don’t mean that there is a word for “mom” in every language; we mean that the word for “mom” is shockingly similar across nearly all of the most commonly spoken languages on Earth.
As to why the “ma” sound in derivations like “mamma” came to be assigned to women instead of men, it is generally thought that it derived from the sound babies make while suckling or feeding. It’s noted that the only sound a baby can really make while its mouth is full of his or her mother’s life giving bosom is a “slight nasal murmur” or a repeated “m” sound.
Further, when the baby is hungry and sees the object of its foodie desires, it is not uncommon for the baby to, as linguist Roman Jakobson put it, “reproduced [it] as an anticipatory signal”. While no one can prove this is how “mom” and its predecessor “mamma” came about, it would at the least explain why there is an almost universal trend of the word for mother in varying languages utilising the “m”, and often “ma” sound.
Honestly, I have searched in the internet and there’s so many nicknames that we call mothers. Here are some:
*Bosnian: Majka or Mama
*Brazilian Portuguese: Mãe
*Czech: Matka or Maminka
*Dutch: Moeder or Mam
*French: Mère or Maman
*German: Mutter or Mama
*Italian: Madre or Mamma
*Norwegian: Mor or Mamma
*Russian: Mama or Matushka
*Spanish: Madre or Mamá or Mami
*Swahili: Mama or Mzazi or Mzaa
*Swedish: Mamma or Mor
*Tagalog: Nanay or Inay
So cute how most of these sounds similar despite the differences and beliefs. What’s yours?