Paths of the Dead prelude, notes.

David Silberstein davids at kithrup.com
Wed Jan 22 13:03:22 PST 2003

On Wed, 22 Jan 2003, Adina Adler wrote:

>>On Tue, 21 Jan 2003, Adina Adler wrote:
>>>David Silberstein wrote:
>> "emma" is /derived/ from the Hebrew for "mother".

> The sources that I checked say that "emma" comes from the German
>word for "strong". 

(Google) It looks like I am completely wrong about the etymology and 
origin of the name "Emma". 

I die.  Linguistic confusion leads to social breakdown, total general
chaos and global warfare (and that damn big tower never does get
completed).  All die.  O the embarrassment! 

> When I learned Hebrew I was taught that "eema" and "em" were both
>equally correct versions of "mother", and "eema" is what my brothers
>and I always called our mother. 

For Aramaic "eema" vs Hebrew "em", I am pretty sure I remember
reading that in "How the Hebrew Language Grew", by Edward Horowitz
(an excellent resource, by the way).  Note also these web pages: 


   For example, "father" in Aramaic is abba. Wait a minute, you say?
   That's Hebrew? No, it's really Aramaic. The Hebrew word for
   "father" is av. But just to confuse you, or so you might be excused
   for thinking, modern Hebrew borrows abba and ima ("mother") from


   Such familiar designations as aba for papa and ima for mama were
   introduced from Aramaic, since the Hebrew words ab (father) and em
   (mother) belong to the more official register (i e., "father and
   "mother"). But even these often were felt as stilted, subsequently
   taking the Yiddish diminutive suffixes, thus generating such forms
   as aba-le and ima-le. 

Whew!  I at least got *something* right.