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Busha and JaJa



cassandra 1 | 40    
9 Sep 2012  #1

Busia is a shortened form of the Polish word Babusia and a term of endearment, and we pronounced it 'Boo-sha'(as in the Holloween English word 'booh'=to scare)...i am ancestrally from the Toledo, Ohio (USA) Polish diaspora and this is what i was taught.

These terms were taught us by those very Grandparents... and we loved them dearly. My granchildren use this term with me, just between us, now ;), they say 'Grandma' in public.

We have been told we are from southwest Warsaw


catsoldier 63 | 600    
9 Sep 2012  #2

Ohio (USA) Polish diaspora

Does Ohio have a lot of people with Polish ancestry? More than other parts of the USA?
OP cassandra 1 | 40    
9 Sep 2012  #3

yes Ohio, in the cities- is well endowed with Polish people....However Chicago in Illinios has the largest American population of the ethnic group
polonius 57 | 421    
14 Oct 2012  #4

The largest Polish concentration in Ohio is of course Cleveland and such nearby communities as Parma and Garfield Heigths. Polonians are also found in Toledo, Akron, Dayton and other localities.
pip 11 | 1,662    
14 Oct 2012  #5

Busha---again, seriously?
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
14 Oct 2012  #6

Not again. Please. I can't take any more of it.
Vincent 9 | 810  Moderator  
14 Oct 2012  #7

Seems it may be a bit more common, from what you first thought :)
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
14 Oct 2012  #8

No more! :(

I'll try and keep it on topic though -

I'm surprised how much these words are used in the US - the Polish emigration is fairly recent, yet these words seem to be incredibly common among the early 20th century emigrants.
Vincent 9 | 810  Moderator  
14 Oct 2012  #9

I'm no expert, but I think this is where it all started and just survived through all the years. Probably a short form of endearment like the UK , grandma , granny, nan and nanny. It comes up too often, not to have a grain of truth in it.
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
14 Oct 2012  #10

Oh, it's certainly in widespead-ish use - but what makes it even more interesting is that the "Słownik Języka Polskiego" from 1905 contains this -

babka, babcia, babciutka, babeczka, babusia, babuœ, babuchna, babunia, babuñcia, babuleńka and babulinka.

No sign of Busia/Busha there - so how on earth did it become an widely known and accepted part of Polish-American language?

Then again, they listen to Polka music, blissfully unaware about where it actually comes from ;)

(PS : thanks to Polonius)
Vincent 9 | 810  Moderator  
14 Oct 2012  #11

"Słownik Języka Polskiego" from 1905

Maybe it was slang and didn't make it into the dictionary. Anyway, you can call your grandmother whatever you want, as long as you still get your extra pocket money:)
Grzegorz_ 52 | 6,190    
14 Oct 2012  #12

Busha and JaJa

Yeah !!!1
Ziemowit 8 | 2,630    
14 Oct 2012  #13

By saying JaJa, she probably wants to say DziaDzia or "Dziadzia", the name for grandfather in childrens' talk.

As for Busia, the mystery remains unsolved; I would opt for this word having evolved in the language of Polish immigrants to America in the environment of English. Children who heard "babusia" could have been shortening it to "busia" in America and go on uncorrected, while in Poland they would be taught to say "baba" and "babcia" instead.
isthatu2 4 | 2,710    
14 Oct 2012  #14

Oh G*d, Delph,give it a rest.... is it any more weird than my 4 generation Italian Scots cousins calling their Granny and Grandpa Nonna and Nonno......get over it..... :)
Harry 81 | 13,431    
14 Oct 2012  #15

Nonna and Nonno are both common among Italian Americans.
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
14 Oct 2012  #16

As for Busia, the mystery remains unsolved; I would opt for this word having evolved in the language of Polish immigrants to America in the environment of English. Children who heard "babusia" could have been shortening it to "busia" in America and go on uncorrected, while in Poland they would be taught to say "baba" and "babcia" instead.

How would that explain the (allegedly - according to PF posters) grandparents demanding that Busia is used, however? Why would they willingly use incorrect Polish?
pip 11 | 1,662    
14 Oct 2012  #17

Fact is Busha is only used in the U.S. And nobody corrects the mistake because it is the Americanization of the language. And as long as it stays in the U.S.--who cares?
rybnik 18 | 1,469    
14 Oct 2012  #18

Fact is Busha is only used in the U.S.

I recently asked my 85 year old ciocia from Silesia about this word. She tells me in all her years she has never heard this word at all.
Ziemowit 8 | 2,630    
14 Oct 2012  #19

Why would they willingly use incorrect Polish?

Being in a foreign language environment, they would not pay much attention to it, I presume.
pip 11 | 1,662    
14 Oct 2012  #20

so then shall we put this to sleep then. Not a Polish word. It is an Americanized word of Polish origin- it has been modified much like the Polish language of those living abroad.

So are we done?
Orpheus - | 116    
14 Oct 2012  #21

I sincerely hope so. It got boring a long time ago.
boletus 30 | 1,367    
15 Oct 2012  #22

Not a Polish word.

Please pip, not again. This word is as Polish as mamcia, żońcia, wujcio, stryjcio, stryjeneczka, wujaszek, synuś, wnuś, babusia and babuś. The only difference is that "busia" appears only in several dialects across Poland and is not listed in any mainstream dictionary. It is however listed in several dialectal dictionaries.

And to cool some tempers here - according to [1], the word "babcia" has not been even officially registered in any Polish dictionary until 1958, since it only appeared (in endearing sense) in the Doroszewski's dictionary[2]. The so-called Warsaw Dictionary[3], does not have such an entry, and only mentions the word "babcia" four times in passing as "ciocio-babcia" or "ciocia-babcia". You may check it yourself using the browser [4]. Certainly no such word exists in [5] - a dictionary of the 16th century Polish - although babka is. There is also no entry for "babcia" in Linde's dictionary[6] (1854-1861), but babka is.

Doroszewski has two separate entries for "baba", one for "babka" and one for "babcia". The latter is defined as "affectionally about mother of father or mother; about old woman". His entry for "babka" has 14 meanings, carefully described.

[1] R. Tokarski: Struktura pola znaczeniowego (studium językoznawcze). Warszawa 1984, s. 137
[2] Słownik języka polskiego pod red. W. Doroszewskiego, 1958 - 1969, doroszewski.pwn.pl
[3] Kryński, Karłowicz, Niedźwiedzki (1900 - 1927) "Słownik języka polskiego", a so-called Warsaw Dictionary
[4] Browser with advanced search capability of multi-volumed Warsaw Dictionary[3] and also other dictionaries, poliqarp.wbl.klf.uw.edu.pl/slownik-warszawski/
[5] S. Bąk, M. R. Mayenowa, F. Pepłowski (eds.). Dictionary of the 16th century Polish. Wrocław - Warszawa, 1966-???? (work in progress)
[6] M. Samuel Bogumił Linde. Dictionary of Polish (2nd edition). Lwów 1854-1861.

I am also bored of repeating the old arguments, so I just only suggest that you google [busia gwara -kenya -uganda] in order to see several entries to dialectal dictionaries - all describing "busia" as "babcia". And then take a look at a map of Poland to see where are those areas where the word "busia" is used in diminutive or hypocoristic form. And just to avoid getting into yet another boring discussion: those areas are NOT Kashubian. Pay attention to Kociewie, Babimojszczyzna, Kramsko, Wijewo, Mazury Wieleńscy, Stara Wiśniewka.

I recently asked my 85 year old ciocia from Silesia about this word. She tells me in all her years she has never heard this word at all.

The formerLower Silesian dialect is still preserved at Chwalim near Wolsztyn (Zielona Góra) and in the so-called dialect of Rawicz's Chazaks, which includes two villages near Leszno (Brenno and Wijewo) and about 22 villages near Rawicz. These dialects have survived thanks to the settlement in the past of Silesian population on the border of the Greater Poland and Silesia. Currently those dialects are vanishing. Wijewo dialect is one of those areas where busia = babka.

But to sweeten up this post, here is a jocular Kashubian text, where the word Busia is used. I hope you like it:
by Zyta Wejer. Nowi Rok - barani skok!

Pszede Nowim Rokam je zylwester. A wew zylwestra, to ji wew Niybjesiych só jinsze porzóndki, jak wew codziań. Wew zylwestra Pan Bóg je całki zacharowani, bo łustawja rzónd za rzandam Swojych Amniołóf, bo musi jych fol posłać na ziamnia, cobi piloweli tych małych gzubóf, jak jejych rodziciele jidó balować!

Niechtórne rodziciele psziwjezó Busia, żebi pilowała gzubóf. Ale ledwo tata zez mamó wilyzó zez chałupi, to Busi na drzemka sia weźnie, ji take je jeji pilowanie! Zaś starsze gzubi, chtórne majó mniyć baczanie na sfojych młodszych braciszków ji siostsziczkóf, zacznó patrzyć wew komputer, a małe gzubi brojó, jano sia szaszór robji. Tedi sia nie dziwujta, że Pan Bóg sóm siedzi na zydlu, rance ma łoperte ło baki, ji szandyruje tych amniołóf, żebi choc łóne mniałi baczanie na ty zafajdane malusziska. Jano że majó pilować fszitkych, a niy jano tych, co rano mówjyli: "Amniele Bożi, Stróżu mój, ti zawdy pszi mnie stój!". Niy, niy, Pan Bóg tak nie rachuluje.

f stop 25 | 2,528    
15 Oct 2012  #23

we used babusia sometimes, but never busia
Ziemowit 8 | 2,630    
15 Oct 2012  #24

so then shall we put this to sleep then. Not a Polish word. It is an Americanized word of Polish origin- it has been modified much like the Polish language of those living abroad. So are we done?

No, I don't tink so. The word "busia" is one of the symbols of the ongoing war between the Polish-Americans not living in Poland and the non-US Anglo-Saxon expats living in Poland and as such it is destined to recur here on the PF sooner or later. I, as a Pole living in Poland, am impartial to this war, but I'm vividly interested in solving out the mystery surrounding this word.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------------

And to cool some tempers here - according to [1], the word "babcia" has not been even officially registered in any Polish dictionary until 1958

The above is in obvious disagreement with this:

Oh, it's certainly in widespead-ish use - but what makes it even more interesting is that the "Słownik Języka Polskiego" from 1905 contains this -
babka, babcia, babciutka, babeczka, babusia, babuœ, babuchna, babunia, babuñcia, babuleńka and babulinka.

Despite the fact that Delph doesn't name his source, he does point to the year of the source which is fifty-three years earlier than 1958!

Delph, could you specify your source?
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
15 Oct 2012  #25

I could indeed.

ampoleagle.com/busia-or-babcia-ongoing-controversy-p4400-125.htm

Written by no other than a prominent poster on PF who sees homosexuals everywhere.

Then again, given the amount of factually incorrect rubbish on that site...
boletus 30 | 1,367    
15 Oct 2012  #26

My family and I have always used "babcia" thingie, and I have never heard about "busia" thing before I joined this forum, so I am also impartial here. I am just annoyed by this thing being made some idiotic symbol of supposed backwardness of Polish-American peasants - according do delphiandomine. So I researched the issue and found a lot about Polish dialects using "busia" in Poland. Somehow the facts I have been presenting here felt on the death ears though.

Despite the fact that Delph doesn't name his source, he does point to the year of the source which is fifty-three years earlier than 1958!
Delph, could you specify your source?

In response Delph quoted a Pol-Am article, which refers to "Słownik Warszawski" by "Kryński, Karłowicz, Niedźwiedzki (1900 - 1927)" - a reference #3 from my previous post. This is huge, multi-volume dictionary, and has never been reprinted in modern times. There are some copies available though and one such copy can be accessed via web interface, which I linked as reference #4 in my previous post. One has to keep in mind that this interface is based on OCR software (Optical Character Recognition) to convert graphemes into printable characters. As such possible software errors should be expected.

Anyway I went there to check Tokarski's claim (ref # 1), and found the following fragments

test 1: babcia

Results
Found 4 results
Displaying results 1-4

1. CIOT> [Ciocia- babcia , cioei-babci,
2. błędne dróżki. Ciocio- babcia , i, Im.
3. e, [Ciocia- babcia ] babka nierodzona. Wil
4. . Pani Anzelmowa stroi się babcia jakby L. Małomiejskie lafiryndy


Not very much, not very useful. None of those look like a real definition; they look more or less like part of examples.

Test 2: baba
This time I got 170 results. Ignoring examples, fragments of proverbs and definitions not related to a family structure I found only two relevant entries:
32: 1. stara kobieta, baba. 2. matka matki
175: babka, baba, matki mojej lub ojca

Test 3: babka
77 results, no reference to babcia

That's what my cursory search of Warsaw Dictionary shows. You are welcomed to try it yourself.

You can also use the same interface, to search for "babcia" in Linde's dictionary. Again:
baba => 113 results
babka => 47 results
babcia => 0 results
babusia => 4 results:
1. babka, babunia, babusia, babi, babiarz, + three examples
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
15 Oct 2012  #27

Boletus - on a serious note :

Does this mean that the Polish word for "grandmother" is a relatively recent invention and possibly dates from after the mass emigration to the USA at the start of the II RP?
boletus 30 | 1,367    
15 Oct 2012  #28

I am not sure where such conclusion can be drawn from. As we all known, many words are in use long before they are sanctioned by dictionaries. And the decisions are often almost political.

For example, if I remember correctly, the end of XIX c. and beginning of XX c. was the period of rapid standardization of Polish grammar and orthography, but also a period of extreme competition between Kraków and Warsaw language schools. Jan Aleksander Karłowicz, a co-author of <<Kryński, Karłowicz, Niedźwiedzki (1900 – 1927) „Słownik języka polskiego”>> belonged to the latter, and hence his dictionary is called "słownik warszawski".

And as its name implies the dictionary is based on Warsaw school of spelling, grammar and very possibly choice of dictionary entries.

The diminutives are not just formed randomly, they follow some patterns of series of correlations. And those very much depend on local dialects.

For example there is a pattern:
0 => -k- => -cia
baba => babka => babcia
mama => mamka => mamcia
żona => żonka => żoncia

but there also other patterns, like this one:
pattern: 0 => -k- => -usia / -uś
baba => babka => babusia/ babuś
(mać) => matka => matusia/ matuś
córa => córka => córusia/ córuś
mama => mamka => mamusia/ mamuś
wnuka => wnuczka => wnusia/ wnuczuś
ciocia => ciotka => ciotusia/ ciotuś
dziad => dziadek => dziadziuś
tata => tatko/ tatek => tatuś
wnuk => wnuczek => wnuczuś/wnuś
syn => synek => synuś.
Evidently, since there is no "babcia" in the Linde's dictionary, but "babusia" one could draw a conclusion that the choice of the "baba" pattern came from Masovian dialect, since it was Warsaw where Linde (1771-1847) lived and worked. On the other hand his dictionary was much expanded during consecutive editions, printed in Lwów 50 years later, so the pattern could actually come from Galicia, and the Kraków schools. But that's just a general observation; I am not a linguist trained in following such patterns.
4 eigner 2 | 848    
15 Oct 2012  #29

Why would they willingly use incorrect Polish?

look DD, we say "I'll knock your block off" here when we get mad as someone and are ready to kick his butt. There are many expressions in use that are actually incorrect. I bet, it's the same in England too. Who cares?
delphiandomine 87 | 15,729    
15 Oct 2012  #30

Aha, this is interesting to me - thank you very much :) I would love to know more - do you know of any links that I could read about the subject of competition between the language schools? I always thought that Polish had one defined 'standard' - I didn't know about any such competition.

Evidently, since there is no "babcia" in the Linde's dictionary, but "babusia" one could draw a conclusion that the choice of the "baba" pattern came from Masovian dialect, since it was Warsaw where Linde (1771-1847) lived and worked. On the other hand his dictionary was much expanded during consecutive editions, printed in Lwów 50 years later, so the pattern could actually come from Galicia, and the Kraków schools. But that's just a general observation; I am not a linguist trained in following such patterns.

I think if there's going to be one person who figures out why they're using Busia and not Babcia, it's going to be you :)

I am not sure where such conclusion can be drawn from.

Ah, I'm just trying to understand your posts - I'm surprised that the word wasn't found in dictionaries at the time, but then, I was under the impression that Polish was standardized much earlier than the end of the 19th century.

While we're at it - do you know of any sites that detail where the Poles came from that emigrated to the USA?




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