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Lesson 10 Addressing a Chinese person
16:08, July 15, 2008

wèn chēng wèi yǔ chēng hū
问 称 谓 与 称 呼


Zhōng guó rén de chēng wèi hé chēng hū jí wéi jiăng jiu qiě fù
中 国 人 的 称 谓 和 称 呼 极 为 讲 究 且 复
zá , wăng wăng yào kăo lǜ dào guān xī hé nián líng . Fū
杂 , 往 往 要 考 虑 到 关 系 和 年 龄 。 夫
qī jiān de chēng wèi shū miàn yŭ tōng cháng yòng " zhàng fu "
妻 间 的 称 谓 书 面 语 通 常 用 " 丈 夫 ”
hé " qī zǐ " ; kǒu yǔ lǐ duō yòng " ài rén ".
和 " 妻 子 ” ; 口 语 里 多 用 " 爱 人 ”。
Dàn duì tā rén zhī qī duō zūn chēng wéi " fū ren " .
但 对 他 人 之 妻 多 尊 称 为 " 夫 人 ” 。
Wăn bèi duì zhăng bèi zhōng de rèn hé rén jué duì bù kě zhí
晚 辈 对 长 辈 中 的 任 何 人 绝 对 不 可 直
hū qí míng . Tóng bèi zhī jiān yě bì xū yŏu zhăng yòu zhī
呼 其 名 。 同 辈 之 间 也 必 须 有 长 幼 之
fēn , nián yòu de duì nión zhăng de bù kě zhí hū qí míng.
分 , 年 幼 的 对 年 长 的 不 可 直 呼 其 名。
Zhōng guó shè huì chéng yuán zhī jiān de chēng hū yŭ , jì shè
中 国 社 会 成 员 之 间 的 称 呼 语 , 既 涉
jí dào lĭ mào , děng jí , míng fèn hé zhí yè , yě
及 到 礼 貌 、 等 级 、 名 份 和 职 业 , 也
yŭ qīn shŭ chēng wèi yǒu guān , bù kě suí yí hū míng .
与 亲 属 称 谓 有 关 , 不 可 随 意 呼 名 。
Tóng xué , tóng líng tóng shì huò tóng líng péng yǒu zhī jiān ,
同 学 、 同 龄 同 事 或 同 龄 朋 友 之 间 ,
kě yòng quán míng xiāng chēng ; hăo yǒu zhī jiān shèn zhì yòng nì
可 用 全 名 相 称 ; 好 友 之 间 甚 至 用 昵
chēng huo chuo hao xiāng chēng , yǐ shì guān xi zhī mì qiè .
称 或 绰 号 相 称 , 以 示 关 系 之 密 切 。
Zài zhōng guó , " tóng zhì " yì cí réng rán bèi guăng fàn
在 中 国 , " 同 志 ” 一 词 仍 然 被 广 泛
shǐ yòng , bú guò rú jīn " xiăo jiě ", " tài tai ",
使 用 , 不 过 如 今 " 小 姐 ”、 " 太 太 ”、
" xiān sheng " děng chēng hū yuè lái yuè duō . Bìng bú shì
" 先 生 ” 等 称 呼 越 来 越 多 。 并 不 是
suǒ yǒu de yǐ hūn nǚ zǐ dōu shǐ yòng zhàng fu de xìng .
所 有 的 已 婚 女 子 都 使 用 丈 夫 的 姓 。
Xŭ duō zhōng guó nǚ zǐ jié hūn hòu réng jì xù shǐ yòng zì
许 多 中 国 女 子 结 婚 后 仍 继 续 使 用 自
jǐ de xìng .
己 的 姓 。


Addressing a Chinese person

How one addresses a Chinese person can be a complicated exercise. Considerations to be taken into account include relationship and age. For instance, between husband and wife, "zhàng fu" (husband) and "qī zǐ" (wife) are generally used in written works. But "ài rén" (meaning sweetheart) is used more in the spoken language. When making reference to someone's wife, the term "fū ren” (madam) is commonly used. The general rule is that a younger person cannot address an older person by the older person's first name even if they are of the same generation.

How people address one another in Chinese society depends on the circumstances. Rules relating to courtesy, status and kinship apply. So, one cannot address others without giving the matter some thought. Addressing someone by their first name is acceptable among classmates, colleagues, and friends of the same age. Good friends often have pet or nick names for one another, depending on how close the relationship is. In China, the word "comrade" is still heard on the streets and is of universal application. However, other forms of address such as Miss, Madam or Sir are used more often these days. Also, not all married Chinese women take on their husband's surnames after marriage. Many Chinese women choose to retain their maiden surnames.

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