"Pop-pop" revisited

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Sat Jun 5 23:15:02 UTC 2004

Here in SE Ohio it's sometimes Pawpaw and Mawmaw but more often Paepaw and
Maemaw (the first syllable has the low front vowel), usually spelled Papaw
and Mamaw.

At 06:11 PM 6/5/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>Some of these facts are clearly dialectal and have, I think, to do
>with the phonetic status of /a/. For me it is a lax vowel and cannot
>occupy open syllable position. For my Milwaukee wife it appears to be
>a tense vowel and can. She speaks, for example, of a 'ma and pa
>store' with the vowel of 'hot'; for me it must be a 'maw and paw
>store' with the vowel of 'caught.' (Canadians, many New Englanders,
>and all the west of the US who lack the caught-cot distinction are
>clearly beyond the pale - or below the pale-bucket line - in this
>That phonetic fact, however, does not preclude distinctive uses of
>the forms themselves of course. For me, paw-paw and maw-maw (with the
>caught vowel, if you know what I mean) were grandparents.
>>>...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,
>>Both of my parents called their respective fathers "Papa."  Maybe it
>>was a Yiddish thing?  My generation called my mother's father Grandpa
>>and my father's father ZAYdee.
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic,
>        Asian and African Languages
>Wells Hall A-740
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48824-1027 USA
>Office: (517) 353-0740
>Fax: (517) 432-2736

More information about the Ads-l mailing list