I was reading a text from Hans H. Øberg, and I saw in the text the following sentences:

Noli dicere 'tatam' et 'mammam', Iuliola! Ea nomina a te audire nolumus. Ita loquuntur parvuli infantes, nec sermo infantium te decet. 'Patrem' et 'matrem' dicere oportet!

Those sentences told me that 'tata' was the definition of 'father'. But didn't Roman children call their father ''papa'?

If yes, why did they say tata instead of papa?

If no, where does the name 'papa' come from?


Yes, children did call their fathers papa, though it was not as common as tata was, at least we think.

Both names are inherited from Indo-European as you can see and are even present in English: cf. paw or papa (also the origin of grampa) and dad or daddy.

Etymonline, though, says that in English papa comes via French:

papa n. "father," 1680s, from French papa, from Latin papa, originally a child's word, similar to Greek pappa (vocative) "o father," pappas "father," pappos "grandfather." The native word is daddy; first use of papa was in courtly speech, as a continental affectation, not used by common folk until late 18c.

For completeness' sake:

dad n. recorded from c. 1500, but probably much older, from child's speech, nearly universal and probably prehistoric (compare Welsh tad, Irish daid, Czech, Latin, Greek tata, Lithuanian tete, Sanskrit tatah, all of the same meaning).

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    Is it safe to assume that Vatican leader's name is related to greek or latin word too? Curiously today slavic languages use papa as affection of child to father, while at least in case of Ukrainian and Russian just a hundred years ago "tyatya" or "tata" was a child word. Contrary, in Japanese "tata" is mother
    – Swift
    Dec 18 '16 at 13:32
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    @Swift Yep, "pope" descends from "papa." Which is actually too bad because there's a pretty cool Latin word, popa.
    – cmw
    Dec 18 '16 at 13:35
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    Explains why in Russian pope is called papa to advantage of being used for puns, while second word, popa.. is.. "cushioning" word that means butt (well, like English "rump")
    – Swift
    Dec 18 '16 at 13:38
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    @Swift: In Japanese, "mother" is haha, for earlier (8th–16th Century, at least) fafa, and possibly pre-historic (as in, before any written records) papa. "Father" is chichi, which at some point in the past must have been titi. But tata is not a kinship term in Japanese.
    – Wtrmute
    Apr 17 '17 at 12:41

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