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Why Do I Call My Grandma Nana?

Your calling grandma nana has much to do with pronunciation and origins. The theory has it that as back as the 16th century, this nickname was already in use. Depending on your family, lineage, or even locality, the name refers to either grandma or other female titles. Besides being easy to pronounce and with a very onomatopoeic sound, it is mostly a fond and affectionate tag. Also, kids find it simpler to voice compared to the more long-form alternatives. Lastly, the fact that it has stuck through the generations means that even evolution cannot extinguish it.

Nana Has Its Unique Regional Variations

Depending on where you come from, the word is either nan, nana, or other slight variation, but with almost the same meaning. In Europe and America, it always refers to grandma. In other regions like Japan, nana is a girl’s name. France has it as a diminutive for Anna. But did you also know that the moniker refers to a famous Sumerian goddess? Mostly known as Innana, it must have then spread throughout the civilizations and landed in Europe and subsequently in America. Generally, its prevalent usage depends on your situation or locality. Here is why nana remains vastly used and prevalent to date.

The Derivative Is Easier for Kids to Pronounce

Unlike the full and mouthy grandmother/ grandma/ granny, nana is easy and smooth on the tongue, especially for little kids. It also has that nice and warm sound to it. For kids, the first words that are spoken include da-da, ma-ma, and now na-na. Besides the fact that they are easy to voice, they also mirror the very initial familiar people that babies meet as they grow. Usually, the name sticks and takes a foothold in whichever household it is being used. As you might also discover, such a name will run across the lineage. So as your parents referred to their granny, it automatically becomes the name of choice for your grandma.

Grandma Naturally Plays Key Nanny Role 

A different group of thought has it that most grandmothers typically assume the role of child nurse or a nanny in most kids’ formative years. See how both the names granny and nanny take such uncanny similarities and meaning? Most often, instead of pronouncing it as granny or nanny, most people and kids would rather refer to it as nana. Although it can confuse some, the slang is appropriate for any female carers, your grandma included. For example, nana is a nickname for aunt among the Greek, meaning that a female, whether nurse or carer, can assume the derivative. 

Why the Nickname Runs in Families

While your friends or colleagues may be calling the grandmas by more formal names such as grandmother/ grandma/ granny, you may rightly wonder why yours remains nana. There is no need to be baffled. The way you refer to your grandma may be a tradition in your family. For example, the same slang your mom used for their grandma could be what you are also using now, meaning it stuck. To find out, you can do a little research, which could confirm the narrative. The same applies to more formal families. You could find that the formality runs across their lineage, and they find it strange to use any other variation for their granny. 

It’s Acceptable to Stick to Formality With Your Grandma

Do you feel the nana derivative is just too informal or not authoritative enough to use for your grandma? There is no problem; you can use other equally sweet variations. For example, granny, grandma, or even the long-form grandmother can do. It depends on how easy to pronounce and how receptive your grandma is to the new name. Still, do not be surprised if your grandma would rather you stick to the nana. It could be that it’s their most familiar and more affectionate slang.

All in all, your grandma remains just as sweet and caring regardless of the name you use for them. Suppose you choose to use any other fonder name; it makes no difference. But also understand if they would prefer to be called nana due to its easiness and warmth.

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