"Pop-pop" revisited

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Jun 5 17:56:55 UTC 2004

Someone asked, a couple of days ago:

'I wonder if anyone knows whether either
Papa/Papaw or Pop Pop is used in Britain?'

I have never heard 'Papa/Papaw' used as a title for a grandfather (come to that,
I don't think I've actually ever heard anyone use 'Papa' for a father, whether
it's 'paPAH' or 'PAp@';  it strikes me as archaic and/or upper-class (I'm
middle-class), and I think I've only seen it written in non-twentieth-century
fiction, in the twentieth-century fiction of PG Wodehouse and in the plays of
Oscar Wilde.

I've never heard an unquestionable British use of 'Pop Pop' for a grandfather
either.  However, there's a friend of our family, British, middle-class and
born in the mid-70s, who referred to her grandfather as 'popp@'.  At least,
that was the way I always heard it;  I don't know whether there was a [p] at
the end or not, so it could conceivably have been either 'Pop-pop' or 'Poppa'.

The overwhelmingly most popular British title for a grandfather is 'Grandad' or,
much less commonly but pronounced the same, the spelling 'Grand-dad'.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

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