Words for grandparents

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Fri Oct 20 18:33:21 UTC 2000

Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> writes:

Subject: Re: Words for grandparents: was: Pittsburgh Dialect

At 11:14 AM -0400 10/19/00, Alice Faber wrote:
>I grew up in the 50s in a NY suburb. In my immediate family, we
>distinguished between the two grandmothers as "Grandma Faber" and
>"Grandma Greenberg". One set of cousins, however, referred to Grandma
>Faber as "Nana"; I don't recall what they called their other
>grandmother, though, even though I should (this other grandmother is
>the one who taught me to knit and crochet, with European
>yarn-handling techniques).
this, or a variant, does seem to be a Jewish (at least Ashkenazic)
tradition.  Growing up in NYC and its suburbs in the late 1940's and
early '50's, my brother and I knew our maternal grandmother only as
"Nanny" (not "Nana", but close), and her daughter--my aunt--is
"Nanny" to HER grandchildren.  In each case, only one of the two
grandmothers is "Nanny", but presumably it's not always the maternal

I also grew up in the 50s in a NYC suburb and then in NYC itself, in an
Ashkenazic family. Our (my sister's and my) maternal grandparents were Nana
(or Nana Tillie) and Grandpa Sam (never just "Grandpa"); our paternal gps
were Gramms* and Pops, never with their names (Martha and Adolph) attached.

* Transcribed ad lib.; I don't think we ever wrote these nicknames down.

FWIW, the paternal side was a generation newer to Di Goldene Medineh (the
USA): our paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents were the
immigrant generation.

-- Mark A. Mandel
       Personal home page: http://world.std.com/~mam/

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