[Lingtyp] addressing the daughter as Mummy

Sergey Loesov sergeloesov at gmail.com
Wed Aug 12 19:34:37 UTC 2020

Dear colleagues,

In various cultures (those I know of happen to be mostly Islamic) the form
of address can be copied by the addressee. Thus, when a daughter addresses
her mother as “Mummy”, the mother often reciprocates, saying to the
daughter something like “yes, Mummy”, or “what, Mummy…” (Same of course
with a son and his father.)

In particular, I came across this kind of exchange in my fieldwork with
Kurdish (Kurmanji) and some contemporary Aramaic varieties in Upper
Mesopotamia and Syria, but this phenomenon is also current in the Soqotri
language, an unwritten Semitic language spoken on the Socotra Island in the
Indian Ocean, southeast of Yemen.

Are we aware of explanations for this kind of usage? Are there
cross-language studies of this kind of facts?

Thank you very much!

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