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Polish Language/Great Grandparents nicknames


I knew my Great Grandfather as "Doch" and my Great Grandmother as "Boosha". I believe the spellings are phonetic, however, I have old 35mm slides that are labeled "Doch".  I believe my Great Grandfather's given name was Andrzej and I have Frances for my Great Grandmother.  An early census states that "Doch" was born in Russia and spoke Polish, while "Boosha" was born in Germany and spoke Polish.

Any assistance with the spelling/translation of "Doch" and "Boosha" would be appreciated.

Thank You

Dear Tom

There is no problem with "Boosha" - it is an abbreviation of the Polish diminutive "babusia" pron. [bah-BOO-shah], meaning "grandma". This form is quite common among Polish Americans (you can find many discussions of this word and its usage among my previous posts). It is however practically unknown in Poland - here we rather say "babcia" [BAP-chah]; "babusia" is met, as a diminutive, along with "babunia", but we do not make such an abbreviation thereof.

On the contrary the "Doch" (to rhyme with "watch", if I understand well) is a difficult thing. If thinking by analogy to "boosha", were it supposed to be an abbreviation of the diminutive for "grandpa", I would rather expect it to be "dosh" or even "doosh" (from "dziaduś" pron. [JAH-doosh]).
Otherwise it might as well be a "private" family nichkname of the origin obscure to anyone outside. No Polish word - name, or common adjective or substantive - comes into my mind that might resemble this nickname to be its source. It might be that the nichkname originated already in America, so you might search for an English word.

"Andrzej" is Polish for Andrew, and is pronounced [AHND-zhay].
"Frances" is in Polish "Franciszka" [fran-CHEESH-kah].

The fact the one of your grandparents was born in "Russia" and the other in "Germany" and they both spoke Polish is of no wonder as between 1795 and 1918 Poland was partitioned among Austria, Russia, and Prussia (later: Germany).

All the best


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Maciej St. Zięba


I am native Polish and from time to time I teach Polish to foreigners. I know (passively of actively) more than 15 other languages - so I can answer many questions concerning Polish grammar, pronounciation, spelling, etymology and usage - as compared to English, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Esperanto or Norwegian. Also questions concerning other Slavic languages, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan, or general linguistics, especially scripts (writing systems and transcriptions) - are welcome.


Teaching English, French, and Esperanto to Poles, Polish to foreigners, teaching Sanskrit, Mandarin Chinese, Classical Chinese and Tibetan. Tour Guide in English, French, Russian and German. Former President of the Regional Examination Committee for Tourist Guides (English and French)(1999-2005).

Polish Oriental Society (since 1979); International Association of Buddhist Studies (since 1986); Klingon Language Institute (since 1986); Learned Society of the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (since 1989); Polish Philosophical Association (since 1997); Universala Esperanto-Asocio (since 1978).

Books: "Origin of the World According to Rigveda" (Montreal 1996); "Our River Bug. Creating Conditions for Development of the Border Areas of Poland, Ukraine and Belarus through Enhancement and Preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage" (Lublin 2008); "Migration - a Challenge to the 21st century" (Lublin 2008); "Migracja zarobkowa do Woch" (Job migration to Italy) (Lublin 2008); more than 100 articles in "Powszechna Encyklopedia Filozofii" (Universal Encyclopedia od Philosophy) vol. 1-10 (Lublin 2000-2009); many more in Polish, some of them available online, see: here and here (a list up to 2012.

Studying philosophy at Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) 1976-81; PhD in Philosophy (1989). Having learned languages in Gdansk and Gdynia (Russian, Esperanto, Latin, English - International Bacalaureate), Lublin (KUL - French, German, Dutch, Sanskrit, Latin, Ancient Greek; UMCS - Chinese, Japanese; elsewhere - Esperanto, Spanish, Italian), Paris (IIAP - French; INALCO - Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese; Sorbonne - Sanskrit), Asker (Norwegian, while working in a kindergarten!), Montreal (McGill - Chinese); Rome and Venice (Italian); Taichung, Taiwan (Chinese), Shimla, India (sanskrit). Self-taught: Slavic languages (other than Polish and Russian), Hungarian, Korean, Vietnamese, Klingon and several other.

Awards and Honors
2012 Golden Medal of Civil Service of Poland; 2012-13 Taiwan Fellowship - Tunghai University (Taichung)

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