1 of 2
1
Mom
Posted: 15 July 2007 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2299
Joined  2007-01-30

Checking mom in OED I find that the first cite is surprisingly late.

1894 Dial. Notes 1 332 Mam, mom, mæ, for mamma or mother.

Did this pronunciation develop from some particular region of the US? The title in the cite, Dialect Notes, seems to support this. Did Americans ever use the pronunciation mum? (No American cites that I can see in OED).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 July 2007 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1253
Joined  2007-03-21

Wordsmith has a related discussion going on as we speak.  No answer to your opening question though, Aldi.  Very interesting.  I have the sense that “mom” is pretty universal here in the US but with the late OED citation, one would think we could find the dialectical source.

edit: This wikipedia entry is interesting, though uncited

Mother. Mom is sporadically regionally found in the UK (West Midlands English); some British dialects have mam, [OED cited here] and this is often used in Irish and Welsh English. Canada has both. In the U.S. region of New England, especially in the case of the Boston accent, the British pronunciation of mum is often retained, while it is still spelt mom.

As for the spelling of mom and pronunciation of mum, it seems that English speaking Canada does the same according to the Wordsmith discussion cited above.

[ Edited: 15 July 2007 03:24 PM by Oecolampadius ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 July 2007 09:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2299
Joined  2007-01-30

That’s interesting. I’ve never heard an example of the mom pronunciation in West Midlands dialect (although admittedly that region is terra incognita to me).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2007 12:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  115
Joined  2007-02-24

How is the “mæ” sounded out, Aldi? Is that just “ma” as many still say it?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2007 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2299
Joined  2007-01-30

According to the OED Pronunciation Key (2nd edition) it’s a short a, as in pat, mat sat. I don’t think that pronunciation has survived but I could be wrong. As far as I know the usual American one is mah, to rhyme with car, far, par.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2007 06:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2778
Joined  2007-01-31

As far as I know the usual American one is mah, to rhyme with car, far, par.

Your non-rhoticity is showing.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2007 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2299
Joined  2007-01-30

Indeed it is. Americans (and Scots) should ignore the dog letter in the above words. Ah, we tread on uncertain ground when we venture to represent sounds without the aid of a phonetics font!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 July 2007 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1365
Joined  2007-01-29

English-speaking South Africans generally call mothers “mom”.

edited in the English-speaking bit

[ Edited: 16 July 2007 11:30 AM by ElizaD ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  140
Joined  2007-02-13

How do the large Irish-American communities spell/pronounce this?  Irish (as pointed out above)uses mam, or mammy.  Other english areas use mum, or mummy.  Does the american “mom” get extended to mommy as well?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2299
Joined  2007-01-30

On the last question I think the answer is yes, as witness the book (and movie) Mommie Dearest by Joan Crawford’s daughter.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  362
Joined  2007-03-05

As I recall (possibly wrongly, I saw it years ago) Mommie was pronounced Mummy in the film.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3412
Joined  2007-01-29

I don’t know about the film, but it’s certainly pronounced the way it’s spelled by most Americans.  (It’s considered childish, so probably used by few over the age of ten.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  807
Joined  2007-06-20

Do American children ever say “mom!” the way British children say “mu-u-um!” in a falling-and-rising tone which translates as “Mother, I am aware that what I am about to ask/say is going to irritate you but I really need to have your attention”?

I ask because it seems to me easier to do a trisyllabic falling-and-rising “mum” than it would be to do the same with “mom”, but that may just be because I don’t have the “-om” phoneme much in my dialect ...

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3412
Joined  2007-01-29

Oh yes indeed.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  282
Joined  2007-02-23

I think there are more-or-less conventional pairs for the parents:

Father : Mother
Pa : Ma
Papa/Poppa : Mama/Momma
Pop : Mom
Da : Ma
Dad : Mom/Mum
Daddy : Mommy/Mummy
Pap : Mam
Pappy : Mammy
Old man : Old lady
Pater : Mater
Paternal unit : Maternal unit

etc.

Those who use a certain term for one parent probably tend to use a corresponding term for the other (of course there are many exceptions).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 July 2007 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  115
Joined  2007-02-24

I realize that most of this is regional, but I have a friend who called his mother and father “ma” and “pa” in an area where that is never heard. He is the first I’ve heard use it in my lifetime in this area (Nebraska/Iowa, along the Missouri River). His parents were from this area originally. I’m assuming that their parents were from some area where that was used, and it was passed down to my friend.

It is unusual to hear something different from what you are used to hearing within your own area, so I have asked him if he was ever teased about it. He said he was, but it didn’t matter because that was how he was raised.

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1
 
‹‹ puttering      Down and out ››