Wonderopolis would like to wish all the moms out there a WONDERful Mother’s Day! Every year on the second Sunday in May, we set aside time to show our appreciation for our mothers. We give them a big hug and thank them for everything they do for us.

Have you ever thought about what exactly makes a person a mother? There’s giving birth to a baby, of course, but that’s not the only way! When you think of “mother,” you might also picture a step-mom or foster mom. You might think of the mom who adopted you or another family member who takes care of you. Whoever your mother is, be sure to show them appreciation as often as you can!

Many children believe they have the greatest mom in the world. Is your mom an important influence in your life? Does she help take care of you and teach you about the world? Moms are special in so many ways. 

What are some of your favorite things about your mom? Her unconditional love for you? The care and protection she gives you? The special cookies she bakes? Although all moms are different, they’re important in the lives of so many children.

Have you ever noticed that, in many languages, the most important concepts have multiple words attached to them? For example, the Sami people who live above the Arctic Circle in the northernmost regions of Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Russia have hundreds of words for snow.

Where they live, snow is all around them at all times. Snow is an integral part of their day-to-day lives. As a result, they have developed all sorts of special words for different versions and variations of snow.

The same is true for the concept of a mother in the English language. What do you call your mother? Mom? Momma? Something else?

You may hear mothers referred to by different words from time to time. Some examples include mom, mum, mummy, mam, mammy, mother, motha, mommy, momma, ma, madre, mama, and even maw. Do you use any of these names for your mom? Do you use another word not listed here?

All these different versions of mother just show us how important mothers are to our culture. For some, “mother” may seem too formal. Instead, the woman who makes you pancakes on Saturday morning needs a more informal word like “mommy” to capture what she means to you.

If you want to surprise your mom, your mommy or your mama this Mother’s Day, learn how to say mom in a new language. Here are some languages from around the world and their word or words for mom:

  • Arabic: Ummi

  • Bosnian: Majka or Mama

  • Brazilian Portuguese: Mãe

  • Czech: Matka or Maminka

  • Danish: Mor

  • Dutch: Moeder or Mam

  • Eskimo: Anana

  • French: Mère or Maman

  • German: Mutter or Mama

  • Greek: Màma

  • Italian: Madre or Mamma

  • Japanese: Haha

  • Kosati: Mamma

  • Mandarin: Mama

  • Navajo: Má

  • Norwegian: Mor or Mamma

  • Polish: Mama

  • Russian: Mama or Matushka

  • Spanish: Madre or Mamá or Mami

  • Swahili: Mama or Mzazi or Mzaa

  • Swedish: Mamma or Mor

  • Tagalog: Nanay

However you say “mom,” be sure to show yours just how much you appreciate them. Make them a card or pick a few flowers on your way home. Mother’s Day comes around once a year, but you can do little things all year round to make your mother feel loved.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCR.R.4, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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