Latest News:  
Beijing   Cloudy/Sunny    32 / 17 ℃  City Forecast

Home>>Life & Culture

Difference between China and West in calling relatives

By Ma Baofeng (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

15:08, May 02, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

China and the West's relative appellations are very different. China's are complex and the West's are simple. Many relative appellations in Chinese do not have counterparts in English. The relative appellations of Chinese and English that are completely equal to each other include father, mother, husband, wife, son and daughter. Due to the huge difference between China and the West in calling relatives, many people are usually puzzled in communicating with Chinese or Westerners.

Relative appellations are complex in China and simple in the West

Chinese relative appellations are many, specific and strict, and relatives of different branches, ages, generations, genders and relations have different appellations. But in the West, relative appellations are much simpler. Western families are usually small families, children will establish their own families after growing up, and the situation of several generations living in a big family is rarely seen. Therefore, they do not have special appellations for relatives older than the grandfather or younger than the grandson, do not have specific appellations for collateral relatives, and do not care much about appellations of marriage relatives.

In the West, the mother's father ( or mother) and father's father (or mother) share the single appellation of grandfather (grandmother), there are no specific appellations to distinguish elder brothers (sisters) and younger brothers (sisters), and there are only two appellations (uncle and aunt) for relatives of the generation of the parents, representing "Bo (father's elder brother), Shu (father's younger brother), Gu (father's sister), Jiu (mother's brother), Yi (mother's sister)and their spouses in Chinese."

For relatives of the same generation, there are eight specific appellations in Chinese, but there is only one (cousin) in English. The appellation "cousin" not only does not distinguish ages but also does not distinguish genders.

【1】 【2】

Email|Print|Comments(Editor:叶欣)

Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

Canada at 2012-05-0470.36.49.*
In Canada & U.S. Mister [Mr.], Mrs. Miss or Ms. is most common. Many women, both married and unmarried, especially feminists, now prefer Ms., however amongst religious women, Mrs. is often preferred. The old saying when used here is "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
  

Selections for you


  1. Group photos record Beijing's weather in April

  2. American couple run coffee house, Dunhuang

  3. Radar operators on plateau

  4. A rail getaway

Most Popular

Opinions

  1. Central bank's rise comes at economy’s expense
  2. How to deal with 70,000 boxes of defective Coke?
  3. Foreign airlines optimistic about Chinese market
  4. Stagflation poses real threat to economic growth
  5. EU commissioner looks to increase investment
  6. China's young generation not 'beat generation'
  7. New dynamic for China-EU ties
  8. No answers from Pakistan
  9. Commodities trading a hurdle for global yuan use
  10. Relations reach new heights

What's happening in China

Contemporary arts and crafts exhibition opens

  1. No mercy for food safety crime
  2. Special fund helps poor mothers
  3. Stars perform in Shanghai's music festival
  4. Beijing barks up wrong tree project: expert
  5. China's urbanization rate to further boom

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai