Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34328

Still Needed:

$40672

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: 'mum' in British English
Question: Hello,

I am a native American English speaker. I know the word ''mum'' is
used in British English as a familiar reference for mother; it is
even used to refer to the queen mother. but in watching hours of
British television I noticed that ''mum'' is also used to refer to
female figures of authority/rank.

How did it become acceptable for typical citizens to refer to the
queen mother as ''mum'', and is that related to its use with any
female in a position of authority? If unrelated, why is ''mum'' used
for any female authority figure?

Thank You.

From: bryan k.
Date: 09-Sep-2013
Replies:
  1. Re: 'mum' in British English    Susan D Fischer     (09-Sep-2013)
  2. Re: 'mum' in British English    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (10-Sep-2013)
  3. Re: 'mum' in British English    Steven Schaufele     (11-Sep-2013)
  4. Re: 'mum' in British English    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (17-Sep-2013)

Back to Most Recent Questions