March 6, 2009

how do you say “mother”?

Parvati (Hindu Mother Goddess)

At 4 months, Kai started to call me “Uma”, his version of the word. This sparked my interested in the linguistic origins of the word “mother”. It derives from the root “mater” which means measure. Other words with this common root are: matriarchy, maternal, and matron. Did you know that the word mama means “breast” in Latin? Go figure.

Check out the word “mother” in other languages:

- Mata (Hindi)

- Ma (Mandarin)

- Madre (Spanish, Italian)

- Imi (Hebrew)

- Okasan (Japanese)

- Makuahine (Hawaiian)

- Me (Vietnamese)

- Mamma (Swedish)

- Ina (Tagalog)

No matter what, the word “mother” in any language is powerful. Ask any child, I’m sure the word conjures up comfort, nourishment, and authority.

How do you say it in your household?

Comments

  1. Shivani Gupta says:

    Amma … in a regional Indian dialect

  2. Dmitri says:

    The Russian word for “mother” is Mama

  3. ly nguyen says:

    no matter what language, the word mother sounds beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  4. quynh says:

    Ma (also Vietnamese- Southern)

  5. Joli says:

    I say Me . I’m Vietnamese and my last name is Nguyen too!