March 6, 2016 4:30 pm
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Today is the day we celebrate ‘Mother’s day’ or ‘Mothering Sunday’ here in the UK.

Mum is one of those words we start to use from a young age; perhaps you used ‘mumma’, ‘mother’, ‘mam’ or ‘mummy’ instead; there are many ways to say it! Some languages offer a similar word to English, like ‘la madre’ in Spanish and in Italian. Typically the word for mother does start with an ‘m’ or a ‘b’ as these are soft and easy sounds when you’re a child, creating the ‘m’ noise is one of the easiest ones to make. In Afrikaans the word for mother is just ‘ma’ and in Swahili it’s ‘mama’.

Happy Mother's Day

My mum and me enjoying the sunshine!

However, that’s not always the case: in Fijian the word for mother is ‘tina’, in Kurdish (Sorani) it is ‘daik’ and in Swiss it is ‘d’Mueter’. In other languages the m or b is replaced with a ‘h’ sound – in Japanese mother is ‘haha’ and in Somalia it is ‘hooyo’. Would you expect ‘Whaea’ to translate into the English word ‘Mother’? This is perhaps one of the more unusual ways of saying mother in another language (Maori). Interestingly in Georgian, it is completely different to English, with ‘mama’ meaning father and ‘deda’ for mother.

When it comes to the Romance and Germanic languages, there are a lot of similarities between both ‘mother’ and ‘father’ translations. Father tends to start with a ‘p’ or a ‘b’ sound, which are also easy noises for children to make.

Here are some other words for ‘mother’ in different languages:

Slovak – matka

Scots Gaelic – a’ mhàthair

Hungarian – anya

Albanian – nënë

Tagalog – nanay

How do you say ‘mother’ in the language you’re learning?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums, tinas, madres and nanays – we hope you have a lovely day!

Alex

 

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This post was written by EuroTalk