word for "wet nurse"?

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by BriarRose, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    When my youngest daughter was about nine months old, and started to talk, she indicated she wanted to nurse by saying a word that sounded like "amah" or "hmah". She used that word as long as she was nursed(which was rather a long time), and I started using it, too. People asked where the word came from, but I was clueless. I'm trying to research the word in on-line dictionaries. Both Swedish and Norwegian have words for "wet-nurse" that look like they would sound similar. (Amme and amma) I know the word "amah", meaning "servant, or nurse-maid" is used in many parts of the east. She thinks she may have been Jewish. There is a similar German word for "wet-nurse". I'm hoping someone will know how those words would sound phonetically, to an English speaker. I don't know if she put the "h" sound there, or I did. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Ons is also German for grandma. Maybe that was a term for a favored nanny?
     
  3. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    Hi Tortoro, It definitetly sounded like "hmah" phonetically. She ,however, says she must have been from an affluent family, if she had a wet-nurse, so nanny might not be far off the mark.
     
  4. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I meant Oma sorry spell check.
     
  5. ladonnacuriosa

    ladonnacuriosa New Member

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    "Amah is a term for mother in several contexts. "Amah" is the Mosuo term for mother.


    In Chinese, Amah, or friend, is the equivalent of the English 'Nanny'. Not a wet-nurse or a 'servant' but rather, like a Nanny, a 'friend' who helps raise a child. It is a profession.


    During the T'ang dynasty in China, the word "Amah" was used as an informal and poetic title for the Taoist goddess, the Queen Mother of the West.


    In modern Mandarin Chinese, "A Ma" is the term for one's maternal grandmother."


    "An amah or ayah (Portuguese: ama,...Medieval Latin: amma;...) is a girl or woman employed by a family to clean and look after children etc. It is a domestic servant role which combines functions of maid and nanny. The term, resembling the pronunciation for "mother", is considered as polite and respectful in the Chinese language when it is used to refer to a maid. They may often be required by employers to wear a uniform.


    This word is common in East Asia and India (although ayah is a more common variant in India). Since the mid-1990s, it has become more politically correct to call such a person a 'helper' rather than a maid or ayah. In Taiwan and China, amah may even refer to any old lady in general.
     
  6. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    Thank you both for your responses. The common use of a term like this in so many languages, is the difficulty I'm having. I would love to narrow it down to one country, but that may not be possible. "Oma" could be on the mark, Tortoro. Maybe a German Jew? One of my twentieth century life-times was as a Jewish woman living in New York. The country of origin is so far unclear, but I'm pretty sure I was an immigrant. This particular child disavows any connection, ever, with the far east, although I'm fairly certain that myself, and one other daughter, have been Asian. By the way, it was only her term for breast-feeding, which proved to be a blessing when she asked for it in public! That is what made me suspect Norway, or Scandinavia. The Yiddish word is totally different.
     
  7. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    This probably goes without saying, but don't put it past your kids to use their own words for things. Before they can speak, they can learn sign language as well as making up words to fill in the gaps of their new language. My son did thing and he had his own word for breast feeding.,
     
  8. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    This is possible. I wondered at the time if she heard a humming sound when she was nursing. None of my children ever used "made-up" words, but it's certainly not beyond the realm of reality. I always asked her if she wanted to nurse, before "hmah" arrived. The similarities between that word, and real terms for that activity seem to me more than coincidental. I was reading older threads, and found a related one. Maybe your son's "made-up" words, weren't, Tortoro. I tended to look at my babies as "old wine in new skins", as the Bible says. On this forum, I think we all do.
     
  9. Totoro

    Totoro Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I have to admit on this one, you're right! I never really thought about it before, but my son's word for breast feeding was ni ni. In Chinese it means you, you.


    And considering he was my little brother in China in our past lives, I don't know why I didn't realize that before. cover face:laugh: Considering he was much older when I began researching past lives, I just overlooked it.
     

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