Words for grandparents

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Sat Oct 21 14:22:24 UTC 2000

Nancy Elliot said:

>  'Moms' for 'Mom' reminds me of "Wills"  (William) and Bugs (as in Bunny).
>Is this a shortening of a '-sie' diminutive ending? (Popsie? Bugsie?)

Wills for "William" likely comes from the English (i.e., British
English) use of clipping+s as a diminutive (or at least an
endearment/nicknaming thing).  Another very common one (that I think
you also hear in the US, but not half as much--esp. not for men) is
Jules (often spelt here as Jools or Joolz) for Julie or Julian.  In
southern Africa, the English speakers do this to a lot of place names
as well--my old university is Witwatersrand, but it's called Wits
(the 'w' is pronounced like a 'v'), Durban is Durbs, Gaborone is
Gabs.  Zimbabwe is just Zim, not Zims, though--maybe you can't put it
on a nasal.

M. Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 3AN    UK
phone:  +44(0)1273-678844
fax:    +44(0)1273-671320

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