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Author Topic: mummy and daddy  (Read 7929 times)

leofwin

  • Guest
mummy and daddy
« on: October 25, 2010, 05:56:44 PM »
Who will venture to reconstruct some old English - familiar words (forgive the pun) for faeder and modor?

I'm tempted to think that modern English 'Daddy' is a distant echo of child-speak for 'faeder'.

Maybe dada and  moma? dade and mome?

Is there any written evidence in Middle English which may give clues?

What do kids say in modern Danish / Swedish / Dutch?

...or Frisian?

Adrian

  • Guest
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 10:14:56 PM »
Dutch: mama + papa
German: Mutti + Vati... or papi
Swedish: morsa + farsa or papa
Danish: mor + far
Icelandic: mummia + pabba
Frisian: father + mem

Iohannes

  • gesith
  • **
  • Posts: 83
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2010, 10:43:28 PM »
Hi everyone!

I think a common Frisian equivalent for 'father' is 'heit'.

By the way, what was the Leornungdæg like yesterday? What about your lecture, Adrian?

All the best!   ;)

Linden

  • Hlaford
  • ****
  • Posts: 391
  • Essex scirgerefa
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 11:00:22 PM »
............
By the way, what was the Leornungdæg like yesterday? What about your lecture, Adrian?


Well I enjoyed the Leornungdæg - I just wish there had been more time for Adrian's talk - just enough to whet the appetite really - he must do some more.
Cræft biþ betere ðonne æhta

Deorca

  • Guest
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 09:56:44 AM »
Swedish is actually 'mamma' and 'pappa'. 'Morsa' and 'farsa' are very familiar familiar terms, slang, almost (but not) derisory.

I often find it odd that the Danes stick to the more formal 'mor' and 'far' (literally, mother and father, as in Swedish and Norwegian) and seem to have no shortened/familiar version.

The online etymology dictionary has the following entry for 'dad' -

"recorded from c.1500, but probably much older, from child's speech, nearly universal and probably prehistoric (cf. Welsh tad, Ir. daid, Czech, L., Gk. tata, Lith. tete, Skt. tatah all of the same meaning)"

Jim

David Cowley

  • Guest
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 04:51:07 PM »
Welsh has Mam and Tad, the 't' of the latter often changing to 'd' to give Dad. Interestingly, these are the basic words for mother and father in both formal and informal contexts, so no pairs to match the Father/ Dad and Mother/ Mum of English. Don't recall coming across Dad or Mum/ Mam in OE either;
On the basis of the above, I think Mum and Dad are quite strong candidates for being loans from British speech.

leofwin

  • Guest
Re: mummy and daddy
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2010, 04:57:41 PM »
Wow! Thanks everybody for your ideas and information.

Discounting latin-based 'papa' words and diminutives of 'father', we're left with tata / dada types, which seem to be very ancient.

I'm intrigued by the Celtic and Lithuanian threads. In the end, I wonder if the early English were saying 'dede', and if this (or something v similar) goes right back to Proto-Indo-European?

It seems that mama - the sound of a suckling baby -  is basic PIE for 'breast', but  goes way beyond the Indo-European family, cropping up pretty universally.

thanks again