March 19th, 2005


Chinese Kinship Titles II

weather: raining
outside: 7.3°C
mood: accomplished

More Chinese kinship titles. Continued from here.

Step Family

(jì) means "afterwards" or "subsequent".

  • 繼父 (jì fù) or 後爹 (hòu diē) stepfather.
  • 繼母 (jì mǔ) or 後母 (hòu mǔ) stepmother.
  • 繼兄 (jì xiōng) step elder brother.
  • 繼姐 (jì jiě) step elder sister.
  • 繼弟 (jì dì) step younger brother.
  • 繼妹 (jì mèi) step younger sister.
Subsequent Wives

  • 繼配 (jì pèi) second wife (taken after the death of one's first wife).
  • 姨太太 (yí tài tai) second wife (taken before the death of one's first wife; concubine). You might notice that it's the same used to refer to a woman's sister from outside of the immediate family. A man's wives were considered to have a sister-ish relationship whether they were actually sisters or not.

Foster/Adoptive Family

(yǎng) is "to provide for", "to raise", "to support" with the connotation "to acquire".

  • 養父 (yǎng fù) foster father.
  • 養母 (yǎng mǔ) foster mother.
  • 養女 (yǎng nǚ) foster daughter.
  • 養子 (yǎng zǐ) foster son.
  • 養兄 (yǎng xiōng) foster elder brother.
  • 養姐 (yǎng jiě) foster elder sister.
  • 養弟 (yǎng dì) foster younger brother.
  • 養妹 (yǎng mèi) foster younger sister.

Nominal Kinship (Godparents)

  • 干爹 (gān diē) godfather [ (diē) and (niáng) are archaic forms of "father" and "mother"].
  • 干娘 (gān niáng), 干媽 (gān mā) godmother.

In-Laws in General

  • 親家 (qīn jiā) parents of one's daughter-in-law or son-in-law; relative by marriage.
  • 親家公 (qīn jiā gōng) child's spouse's father
  • 親家母 (qīn jiā mǔ) child's spouse's mother
  • 親家太爺 (qīn jiā tài yé) child's spouse's grandfather
  • 親家太奶奶 (qīn jiā tài nǎi nǎi) child's spouse's grandmother

In-Laws (source speaker is male)

  • 岳父 (yuè fù) wife's father; father-in-law.
  • 岳母 (yuè mǔ) wife's mother; mother-in-law.
  • 丈人 (zhàng rén) wife's father; father-in-law — not to be confused with 丈夫 (zhàng fū) which means "husband".
  • 丈母 (zhàng mǔ) wife's mother; mother-in-law.
  • 大舅子 (dà jiù zi) wife's elder brother; brother-in-law.
  • 大姨子 (dà yí zi) wife's elder sister; sister-in-law.
  • 小舅子 (xiǎo jiù zi) wife's younger brother; brother-in-law.
  • 小姨子 (xiǎo yí zǐ) wife's younger sister; sister-in-law.

In-Laws (source speaker is female)

  • 家公 (jiā gōng) husband's father; father-in-law
  • 家婆 (jiā pó) husband's mother; mother-in-law.

    To me, this pair sounds right in Cantonese, but not in Mandarin. I'm not sure if that's because they're incorrect or if it's just that I'm not used to hearing this in Mandarin. I call his mother "" (Ma), so I wouldn't really know.

  • 公公 (gōng gong) husband's father; father-in-law
  • 婆婆 (pó po) husband's mother; mother-in-law
  • 大伯子 (dà bó zi) husband's elder brother; brother-in-law.
  • 大姑子 (dà gū zi) husband's elder sister; sister-in-law.
  • 小叔子 (xiǎo shū zǐ) husband's younger brother; brother-in-law.
  • 小姑子 (xiǎo gū zi) husband's younger sister; sister-in-law.

In-Laws (common to source male or female speakers)

  • 嫂嫂 (sǎo sǎo) elder brother's wife, sister-in-law
  • 姐夫 (jiě fū) elder sister's husband, brother-in-law
  • 弟妹 (dì mèi) younger brother's wife, sister-in-law. This one is interesting; it literally translates as "little brother's little sister". Husband and wife relationships have traditionally been thought of as having an element of a sibling relationship because they're in the same generation. Traditionally, in arranged marriages, a wife will be one, two, four or five years younger than the husband (they usually never choose spouses that are three years apart). But her kinship title is always "little brother's little sister" even if she is older than he is.
  • 妹夫 (mèi fū) younger sister's husband, brother-in-law

I said: And there are slight discrepancies between Cantonese and Mandarin; the terms for "mother-in-law", "maternal grandmother" and "paternal grandmother" can get really confusing between the two dialects. =)

Paternal Grandmother 奶奶 (nǎi nǎi) 傌傌 (mà mà) or 阿傌 (a mà)
Maternal Grandmother 外婆 (wài pó) 婆婆 (pó pó)
Husband's Mother 婆婆 (pó pó) 奶奶 (nǎi nǎi)

Funny story:

My Brother-in-Law is my Husband's younger brother. He wanted to thank me on one occassion and wanted to say it in Chinese (just to be cute I guess, because we usually speak English with each other), but didn't quite know how to refer to me in Chinese. To him, it should be 謝謝大嫂 (xiè xiè dà sǎo).

So, he asks his girlfriend what she calls her older sister. He didn't explain to her why he wanted to know, so she didn't have the context to tell him what he should have said. He proceeds to say to me: 謝謝阿姐 (xiè xiè ā jiě).

BWAHAHAHA!!! XD ALL WRONG. XD =D But it was terribly cute...