아바마마 & 어마마마

I’m reading the third book in the 삐삐 series in Korean. I’ve learned some marginally useful words. I figured out 왕좌 (throne) by combining “king” (왕) and “seat” (좌석). 야자나무 (palm tree) and 빵나무 (breadfruit tree) are good to know.

But then I got to this.

아바마마, 일이 있긴 있었어요. 아바마마께서 돌아오시자마자 일이 일어났어요.

아바마마?

I’m usually good about figuring out if something is a sound or motion word, but this seemed to be neither. So I looked it up. (No, I don’t look up every word I don’t know, but this one was so fun to say—ah-bah-mah-mah.)

아바마마(—媽媽)
my father the King.

Oh good kimchi. That’s got to be the most useless Korean word I have read. And of course there is a female equivalent: 어마마마 (eo-mah-mah-mah).

***

“[Good Man], is 송아지‎ a popular word?”

“What do you mean?”

“‘Baby cow,’ ‘calf?'”

Good Man laughed. “Well, it depends on where you live and what you do. How often do you use ‘cow,’ except for ‘holy cow’!”

Good point, Good Man, good point.