Do you have the greatest mom in the world? Many children will proudly lift their hands and shout “Yes!” in response to that question. Moms are important influences in our lives and are special in so many ways.
What are some of your favorite things about your mom? Her unconditional love for you? The care and protection she gives you? The special cookies she bakes? Although all moms are different, they’re important in the lives of so many children.
Have you ever noticed that, in many languages, the most important concepts have multiple words attached to them? For example, the Sami people who live above the Arctic Circle in the northernmost regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia have hundreds of words for snow.
Where they live, snow is all around them at all times. Snow is an integral part of their day-to-day lives. As a result, they have developed all sorts of special words for different versions and variations of snow.
The same is true for the concept of a mother in the English language. What do you call your mother? Mom? Something else?
You may hear mothers referred to by different words from time to time. Some examples include mom, mum, mummy, mam, mammy, mother, motha, mommy, momma, ma, madre, mama and even maw. Do you use any of these names for your mom? Do you use another word not listed here?
All these different versions of mother just show us how important mothers are to our culture. For some, “mother” may seem too formal. Instead, the woman who makes you pancakes on Saturday morning needs a more informal word like “mommy” to capture what she means to you.
If you want to surprise your mom, your mommy or your mama this Mother’s Day, learn how to say mom in a foreign language. Here are some foreign languages from around the world and their word or words for mom:
- Arabic: Ahm
- Bosnian: Majka
- Brazilian Portuguese: Mãe
- Czech: Matka
- Danish: Mor
- Dutch: Moeder or Moer
- French: Mère or Maman
- German: Mutter
- Greek: Màna
- Italian: Madre or Mamma
- Japanese: Okaasan or Haha
- Norwegian: Mor
- Polish: Matka or Mama
- Russian: Mat'
- Spanish: Madre or Mamá or Mami
- Swahili: Mama or Mzazi or Mzaa
- Swedish: Mamma or Mor or Morsa