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Interesting Name Facts with Julie Hackett

All That I am or hope to be I owe to my mother – Abe Lincoln

All That I am or hope to be I owe to my mother – Abe Lincoln - Name Stories

As we prepare for Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12, 2019, I asked myself… where does the word “mother” come from anyway? And when I get an itchy question in my head, I start googling my heart out.

As it turns out, a team of researchers at the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences recently released a study wherein they believed they have identified the 23 oldest words in all human languages. And guess what? Mother is one of them.

Here’s what’s remarkable about this linguistic research. They estimate that the word mother in its purest form is more than 15,000 years old. Languages are a funny thing – their longevity is only about 8,000 years before natural extension (or absorption by other dominate languages). They have identified a list of 23 words that have beaten the odds. They are:

thou, I, not, that, we, to give, who, this, what, man/male, ye, old, mother, to hear, hand, fire, to pull, black, to flow, bark, ashes, to spit, worm. (noted, spit and worm are downright weird). The rest kinda make sense, right?

Picture yourself trolling around with Mr. Neanderthal 15,000 years ago alongside your hunter gatherer BFFs. Pronouns like I, ye, thou, we, this, that, who and what are critical to everyday expression. Right? Makes sense. Then there’s a couple of adjectives (old, black) that we can surmise as important. We have verbs like to give, hear, pull and flow. And then there are the nouns like hand, bark and fire (translation: build, shelter and warmth)… it’s all so neat.

Finally, man and mother. Let’s think about this for a moment. It’s not man and woman. Nor is it father and mother. It’s man and mother. Mother. A word unto her own. Despite all the natural human elements that can upset languages and alter words dramatically, the value of the MOTHER can claim her undisturbed throne for thousands of years. Well deserved, Ma.

This blog is really dedicated to the amazing woman I call “Mom.”

When God was dealing out the “Mother” cards on the day of my birth, He dealt me a winning hand. I do echo Abraham Lincoln’s words except for the part I owe to my father, because God was gracious to me in that area, as well. But it’s my mother I write about today.

I created Name Stories’ “Mother’s Day” print with her in mind. Everything a mother is supposed to be she delivered in spades. As a baby and young child, I received love, warmth, comfort and protection. As a teenager, I was encouraged to be an independent young woman and appropriately reprimanded when I went rogue. And as an adult, she has become my friend. Throughout the course of my life, she has nurtured, supported and inspired her daughters to be the best they can be, while sacrificing any and all self-interests that may have thwarted our success.

Today I run a successful company. My business partners respectfully refer to my mother as the NameStories’ Founder’s Founder. There would be no name stories without her. She is my hero.

Love you Mom,

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1 comment


  • Dana on

    Beautifully said!

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