“Busia” or “babcia” – ongoing controversy (2023)

Reader Comments

John Dayner[emailprotected]
MAR 06, 2020•All languages change when geography and time change. Insisting that there is only one way to say or write something correctly is tilting at windmills. You can't preserve specific spellings or pronunciations of language that is being used daily by thousands of people. You don't have to like the changes nor do you have to use them, but thinking that will preserve the form you like is delusional. Knowest thou what I mean?

Elzbieta Janas[emailprotected]
FEB 14, 2020•It's not kind to comment the way you do on the term of endearment people choose to use. Especially since you are wrong. So wrong. Busia (or busha) is simply a shortened version of babusia. AND, it's the sweetest sound to the ears if spoken by their grandchildren.

JAN 24, 2020•I was born and raised in the "Bucktown" area of Chicago which, at the time, had a large Polish population. My maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated from Poland. I was taught some Polish phrases that rhymed to use when I answered the phone as well as songs to sing for friends and family. My paternal grandfather passed away before I was born. And my paternal grandmother when I was very young. My maternal grandmother was called Busia and grandfather was Dzia Dzia. This was their choice. My mother was called Busia and now that is what my grandsons call me. I am very proud of my Polish heritage. If I wasn't why would I continue the tradition? When I was young, I would see my Busia everyday and when I was left I would say, "I love you, Boosh. See you tomorrow." We do tend to take a name and make it our own. My grandsons also call me Boosh. Thishappens in every language. It comes from love and respect. Proud to be Polish!

Rick Spalenka[emailprotected]
NOV 16, 2019•My parents were from Chicago. My grandmother was called Busha and grandfather was Jaja. And my Busha called me Rickush. Go figure.

OCT 24, 2019•We always called them Busha and Jaja. I was reading an article in the paper once and the author started talking about her "dziadzia". I know very little Polish, but I instantly knew that was "Jaja"! I was talking with a customer once in the store I worked at, a Polish lady who never heard of stugenina(spelled wrong I'm sure). My mom said it is poor peoples food. Also, my mom said Poland has different accents, much like north/southand east coast does in the USA.

John Chrusciel[emailprotected]
AUG 31, 2019•My paternal grandfather (born here ca 1917 - 1st generation) was called either jaja or grampa or grampa chrusciel ( his name was Florian). My grandmother, Irene (similar birth status) was either busha or gramma. Busha wore a babushka and made the best goloompkies in the world. They called me yashu. Of course if the nuns were mad at me it was yashu kroostchell come here at once. I liked poonchkeys. We are all chicagoans (bucktown) area. I am third generation. I only know english and i had latin and greek in school. I count to Five, say nya roszoomya, djin kewya, sing stolat on birthdays, and say the the Hail Mary and the mass in Polish but thats it. They frowned on us speaking anything but english and we were expected to be ‘more’ American than regular americans. Patriotic, catholic and probably too much piwa.

Tina Bumgardner[emailprotected]
AUG 20, 2019•early 1900's, Grandma was born on the boat from Poland coming to the US. Was always called Buscia.

Denise Blanche[emailprotected]
JUL 18, 2019•We called our Dad's Mom Busia and we called our Mom's grandmother (our great grandmother) Babcia. I always assumed that Busia meant "grandmother" and Babcia meant "great grandmother". My mother's mother died at an early age so we never had a name for her.

JUL 01, 2019•My moms grandparents came to Chicago from Poland, & she called her Polish grandma Buscia. I don’t care what anybody says or what they call theirs. She is from Poland period! To say it’s not valid is ridiculous. Maybe it’s a Chicago Polish thing, I do not know nor do I care. But her being from southern Poland may be a reason, & maybe they call it different up north. Arguing about what is proper or not is ridiculous.

MAY 24, 2019•My children called my mother "busia",I believe it is a term of utmost respect , regardless of whats correct. My grand kids call me "Dzie dzie "from day one. I love it. Its all about respect and love, and thats the real definition.

MAY 05, 2019•My great grandmother was called “Grandmuzzy”.she spoke mostly Polish. “Stodty Baba and Stodty Jodt meant old woman and old man (phonetic spellings).

Shana O.[emailprotected]
MAR 17, 2019•My paternal grandparents were both from Poland, my grandmother was babcia & my grandfather was dziadziu Until today I’d never even heard or seen busia until a saw it on a shirt & googled it & found this page.

Carl Tarajkowski[emailprotected]
NOV 20, 2018•We called my grandmother bopcie. pronounced bop Che. Never knew it was the Polish word for grandmother

SEP 26, 2018•We called our Grandmother Busia or Busha as well. My Busia was from Warsaw, Poland and immigrated to Detroit Michigan in the 1920's

Ed Jabkiewicz[emailprotected]
AUG 18, 2018•One correction on my last comment, my great-grandma called herself ‘babunia’.

Ed Jabkiewicz[emailprotected]
AUG 18, 2018•Growing up we called our grandma ‘babcia’ while my friends down the block called theirs ‘busia’. Recently I was walking in our family cemetery and spotted a woman’s headstone with the term ‘babusia’ on it, so I gathered that busia is short for babusia. My great-grandma called herself babusia. I guess all of the terms are correct.

AUG 09, 2018•What does Reszry dawny mean?

JAN 29, 2018•My Busha was born in Poland in 1896 and came to America in the 1920’s. We didn’t change anything here in America. Busha came from Poland.

AUG 17, 2017•My great-grandmother, Julia Jedrzejczyk, was always known in our family as Busia (grandmother) or Busia-Busia (great-grandmother). She was born in Debcia, Poland in ~1896 and emigrated to Chicago ~1910. She also used to make the egg bread with the yellow raisins and cheese topping and spelled it "kolacz". If you search online with that spelling you will find recipes.

DEC 27, 2016•My Polish grandparents were ' Bogucki'...we called my grandmother 'Babka', my grandfather 'Jaja'...he was monied, she a 'peasant', as he fondly[?] called her. Definitely a debate about grandmother's title; I've even been told by a Pole that babka means bread in Polish

APR 30, 2016•We called our grandmother Busia. That's the correct spelling of the word (in Polish). I don't know how it originated or who started it. I was kind of in the middle (age-wise) of all the grandkids and really don't know who 'tagged' it.

Arlene Sienkiewicz[emailprotected]
APR 15, 2016•Both my grandparents arrived in the USA in 1910. My grandfather was from Warsaw, and of upper class. He was well educated and sent to Germany to study. My grandmother was a poor farm girl from Northwest Poland by the Russian border. She never spoke a word of English. All her children spoke Polish until the learned English in school. We called he Nonnie. Maybe her first grandchild called her that and she liked it. Any thoughts?

Roger Werzbicki-Kaleugher[emailprotected]
NOV 29, 2015•It seems like there are a lot of people in the U.S. that use the nickname for granny is Buscia. My dad's mother's mother was Buscia. It's probably slang. Sorry if the dictionaries don't have it. There are many unwritten rules and words in any language; remember many of these people came to America 100 years ago. You think things have changed? Let's take the word GAY. You know who has hijacked that word. You can't even sing "The Christmas Song" with a straight face. I think there's a good point that Babcia is the father's mother, and Buscia is the mother's mother. God bless- through Christ the Lord. Amen.

Mary Kay Mason[emailprotected]
NOV 10, 2015•And here all along I've been calling my grandmother "Busha!" I feel so defiled, and deceived!! : ) I have also been calling my grandfather Dajdouche {phonetically spelled.}Was that wrong too!

Linda Krol Jamison[emailprotected]
JUL 26, 2015•Thanks Arlene! I also grew up with "koloc" bread and have never found a recipe for it. I was told by my grandmother , they were from outside Krakow. My great-grandfather came to America around 1880. My grandmother always said "Busia " was grandmother in Polish. We called her Busie (boo-she).

JUL 05, 2015•Babcia is the proper way to say Grandmom and Dziadek is Grandad. Bucia, Baba, Dziadu etc..... are all equal to saying Nana, Grammy, Grandma etc.... In the Polish language, it is very common to give nicknames to everyone. When I was little, my parents called me Beatka instead of Beata. No different than Lizzy for Elizabeth.

JUL 18, 2014•One more word: "Babcia" is really hard to pronounce for an average English speaker. "Busia" (short for "Babusia") is not at all.Old woman in Polish is "baba", not "busia".

JUL 18, 2014•No gerenral or specialized, nor historicar or dialect, or slang dictionary of Polish language - as used in Poland - has ever recorded this word. No "perhaps" hypotheses of can change this simple fact.Yet, as Robert has mentioned, Polish is rich in endearment forms, and new forms are constantly created. Some of them remain family property, some do spread out. This form, contrary to "bopke", or "baba", sounds nice to a Polish ear and may have parallels in short forms like Nusia or Niusia from Anusia (endearment for Anna), or else Tusia from Martusia (for Marta), Tolek from Anatolek (for Anatol), Linka from Michalinka (for Michalina) or Lolek from Karolek, with R changed to L (for Karol). If it sounds nice, is not contrary to a pattern present, and is commonly used among Polish-Americans, why should newcomers not accept it? Especially women, who like inventing and imitating new enderament forms.A very old Polish proverb says "Kiedy wlaz³e¶ miêdzy wrony musisz krakaæ jak i one" (If you start living among crows you have to caw (make sound) like them = When in Rome, do as the Romans do). The newcomer, even if unable to speak English well, want to assimilata as far as possible. So, at leats with the members of the Polish community. If they are of lower social strata, they have no strong language taboos. The reason is so simple that I am really astonished anybody could dispute about it.

Barbara Corry[emailprotected]
JAN 11, 2014•My maternal grandparent came over from Poland in the very late 1800s. They had 10 children in the US. My mother and her sisters and brothers all spoke Polish as my grandmother did not speak English. I always called my grandmother Busha, and my grandfather Dziadzia.

Maciej St. Zieba[emailprotected]
JAN 06, 2014•Unfortunately to all those, who believe in purely Polish origin of "busha", this form is unknown in any area of modern or fomer Poland, in any social group. It can be understood only as an abbreviation of "babusia", originated in US. As the Polish newcommers to America in the later times tended to socialize with those already well established, many such created words spread, among them "busha". See the discussions at http://en.allexperts.com/q/Polish-Language-3388/

Cathy Pisz Payton maiden name (Kasia Pisz)[emailprotected]
DEC 31, 2013•My father emmigrated from Poland after WWII, he taught us the Polish word for Grandma is Buscia. He was from a lower class area so perhaps Buscia is a term used by certain areas of the country but doesn't mean that it isn't valid.

Kym Brunner[emailprotected]
OCT 14, 2013•Very logical explanation, thank you. But similar to Jeff's story, my "Busia" was born and raised in Poland (my dad calls her a Highlander), and came here in the 1940s. That was the title she preferred and what we always called her. In fact, she spoke very little English (even at her death some 50 years later), so it's hard to believe that she would have wanted an American slang version of the word. Just not sure....

AUG 24, 2013•Busha means "old woman" in Polish.

Arlene Kukielka Tarpey[emailprotected]
MAY 14, 2013•Thanks for clearing this up. I grew up with exactly the words you mention. I also grew up with "koloc". A large egg bread (the size of the oven)with yellow raisins and cheese spread on top. I do not see any thing like that in cook books or anyone who comes from Poland knew of this. It must have been a regional thing. My parents came from Szczurowa and Zaborow outside of Krakow. Thanks Arlene Tarpey

Jeff Zimmerman[emailprotected]
NOV 04, 2012•All I know is that my maternal grandparents (Jan and Zofia Baran) came over after WWI and she was my Busha. They were Poles, why would they make a word up? Especially such an intimate and personal one like "grandmother"?


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