Mummy, daddy, or car - babies' first words across the world revealed

By Sally Burton
Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 3:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 3:58 pm

Baby talk is a language of similarities across the world it seems, as new research reveals the most common first words that come out of the mouths of babies.

One of the most memorable milestones in your child’s life is when they say their first word. Some parents spend months repeating their name to their little ones in the hope it will be their first word.

Tips for new parents:

Sign up to our daily Daventry Express Today newsletter

Little is known about the effect of language, culture and location on babies’ vocabularies, or whether these factors influence a baby’s first word.

A survey of the most and least common first words across different countries, also revealed if ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ is more popular; unique first words and the most common words said as babies grow, between eight to 26 months.

Across the world, the most common first word is officially ‘mommy’, as babies in 12 out of 33 countries learn mom’s name first.

However, in most cases, dad is not too far behind. In 10 out of those 12 mommy-loving countries, ‘daddy’ is the next most spoken word.

It’s different in Mexico, where ‘water’ is the second most common word said by babies, and in Slovakia, it’s ‘grandmother’. In both countries ‘daddy’ ranks in third place.

In seven countries, the most popular first word is ‘daddy’. In all of these seven countries, the next most popular word said by babies is ‘mommy’.

The most common first words (or a translation where necessary) in each country were found to be; Germany - Mama, Russia - Mommy, Israel - Car, Italy - Mamma, Turkey - Baba (Daddy), Canada - Papa, United States - Mommy, Czechia - Máma (Mommy), Latvia - māte (Mommy), Croatia - tata (Daddy), Mexico - Mamá, Norway - Mamma, South Korea - Daddy, Spain - Papá (Daddy), China - (Daddy), Sweden - mamma, Denmark - Hej (Hi), Greece - (Grandma), France - papa, Portugal - Mãe (Mommy), Great Britain - Mummy, Australia - Jam, Slovakia - Mama.

Further findings from the research revealed: The most common first word in Australia is ‘Jam’, the most common first word in Israel is ‘Car’, and the most unique first word in Canada is ‘Goose’.

In the US, UK, Mexico, Australia and China, more baby girls pick up words than boys.