I’m reading Louisa may Alcott’s Little Women appropriate now. Transparent the book, the in march sisters describe their mommy as “marmee.” This looks prefer an odd ax of endearment until you remember that Alcott grew up (and set her publication in) Eastern Massachusetts. Given that her accent was most likely non-rhotic (i.e. She dropped her r’s), “marmee” is essentially a different way of writing contemporary mommy.

This acquired me thinking. We have several unshened words for “mother” in English: mum (heard in much of England), mom (heard in lot of America), and mam (heard in Ireland and Northern England). However are this actually different words, or space they just, in part sense, the same word?

Although “mum,” “mam,” and also “momread differently, they’re often pronounced in a very similar way. Here’s a to compare of three various dialects, and also their “mom” pronounced level (don’t concern if friend aren’t competent in IPA — I’ll define after):

London: “mum” — General American: “mom” — Manchester, UK: “mam” —

Whether you know the IPA symbols above or not, the suggest is the in these 3 dialects, the indigenous are quite close in pronunciation. To be fair, there are some areas where this is not the case. In the Western US, because that example, mom is regularly more clearly “mawm.” Still, is it possible that mom and also mum and also mam began as various spellings rather than different words?

I suspect this might be the case because written consumption of lock seems relatively recent. Mom and mum show up to only date ago to the 19th Century in created form. I’m curious if perhaps mam is the earliest of these, and also mom and also mum to be just various ways of rendering this.

But that’s all I have the right to say for now. I’ve been able come find small information as to whether this words have some typical derivation. Google searches of “mom vs. Mum” or “mom mum mam” don’t yield anything substantial.


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I haven’t discovered much info about their etymologies either. Any type of thoughts?