‘My little sunshine’, ‘sweetie’, ‘honey’– why do parents use such nicknames when talking with their children? Let’s see exactly which terms of endearment are used in different languages and cultures.
It is quite hard to believe that nicknames or affectionate family names can really be an object of a scientific investigation. And yet, these seemingly simple words carry a lot of information about the way people perceive others and the world around them.
How do parents, grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives address their loved ones? In this project we research affectionate forms of greeting; terms of endearment categorized linguistically as ‘diminutive forms of address’.
How do these terms of endearment vary from culture to culture? Why in some parts of the world is the most affectionate term, ‘my dear heart’, while, in others it is ‘my little kitten’. Together, we will attempt to compile an international catalogue of these metaphors and gain insight into family relationships.