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KatawaGrey's avatar

Fantasy Mavens: What is a good title for parents in a fantasy book that takes place in another world?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21483points) January 10th, 2011

Often, in fantasy books, the characters call their parents “mother” and “father.” I’ve always thought these were too stiffly formal if the parents and children had good relationships. However, “mom” and “dad” just seem too odd for a fantasy world. I have similar issues with “mama” and “papa.” I think these sound a bit too childish for an adult to call his/her parents.

So, fluther fantasy readers and writers, what would you suggest as good parental titles?

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15 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Maybe mum and da?

Kardamom's avatar

Mo and Po?

Or Mam and Pom?

Or May and Pay?

Or Mutter and Patter?

gailcalled's avatar

Some of the upper-class Brits use mater and pater. It sounds truly affected.

Ma and Pa

Eema and Abu (Hebrew)

KatawaGrey's avatar

@gailcalled: Oh, I hadn’t thought of that! If I base a world on a certain culture, I could use words from that culture. You are good, lady, very good.

TexasDude's avatar

Yam and Pate’

Nod and Neva

I dunno, just some random stuff I thought up.

liminal's avatar

@gailcalled I was taught to spell it Ima, is that wrong?

gailcalled's avatar

Edit:The Hebrew for father is Abba. Ima is correct but I was spelling it phonetically.

Here are many other languages; Mom and Dad and a longer list

I am quite taken with Mor and Far (Swedish).

liminal's avatar

I like Mor and Far too, sounds very fantasy like!

I researched names for mom and if I remember right:

Arabic: omm
Hindi: mataji,
Malayalam: Amma (which is what I go by and my partner goes by Ima)

Sorry for not knowing the father terms.

Jeruba's avatar

I would suggest going to the language and culture and not stopping at a simple translation. Think about the roles of mother and father, maybe metaphorically: are they authoritarian? nurturing? equal partners or superior and subordinate? So—would they be (in their language) First Parent and Second Parent? the Rod and the Cushion? small-king and small-queen? Big-Hand and Big-Lips? would they all be named after an original pair (Adam-and-Eve-like) or deities or natural forces, such as Sun-parent and Earth-parent (reversal of cultures that call our sun Father and our earth Mother)? The culture should provide the answers.

gailcalled's avatar

The Swedish is fun because I believe that grandmother is mor mor and grandfather, far far.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Jeruba: Admittedly, I was originally looking for English words that sounded appropriate in a fantasy world but these ideas are so wonderful that I didn’t want to stifle the creative flow. :)

Jeruba's avatar

Well, that works. Figure out what would be fitting in the language and culture and then translate it into English. In practical terms (for you), of course, it never has to leave English at all, but you pretend it does.

For example, suppose it is a culture that is closely bound to trees. You might decide that the word for the trees that dominate the forest should be the same as the word for father, or closely related to it in their etymology; or that the word for mother means “fruit-bearing tree.” Somehow you draw the parallel, the link, the metaphor, the association through your choice of words, and then you look for the English words that pertain to it. That’s what I’m suggesting.

ZAGWRITER's avatar

You know what would be fun (for me) is to have a fantasy world based on the old west. I haven’t seen one yet that fits the image in my head

JilltheTooth's avatar

I like Jeruba’s idea of the metaphorical thing, perhaps look at variations from the Erse for male and female minor deity figures, with your own twist. Some of those words and terms will sound vaguely familiar to today’s readers, and therefore not be totally alien.

Nullo's avatar

Mimi and Papa.

As I recall, the classic terms, ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ are what they are because they are very simple consonant-vowel pairs, and so are more likely to be learned first. You might try combining others for similar effect.

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