Guest Post: Learn Mandarin Chinese - What to Call Chinese Family for Western Women Married to Chinese Men | Speaking of China

15 Responses

  1. Eric
    Eric January 29, 2016 at 9:47 am | | Reply

    Hey Jocelyn, your post looks good.

    I think there are some differences with English. Some names of relatives in post are more of written names, for example, usually we dont call wife’s sisters xiaoyizi or dayizi, huzband’s brothers xiaoshuzi or dabo. separately we call gege/jiejie/meimei, as our own sisters or brothers. 🙂

    very good job.

  2. Marta
    Marta January 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm | | Reply

    For me the most difficult, and what I am still not clear, are the names of the uncles and aunts. I can never remember them. I only know that father-in-law’s younger sister is gugu. For the rest I am completely lost and always refer to everybody as shushu and ayi…

    1. Betty has a Panda
      Betty has a Panda January 29, 2016 at 8:46 pm | | Reply

      Mr. Panda has 6 aunts, and they numbered them! But I always mix up 2nd, 3rd and 4th aunt as they are so close in age. >_<"

  3. Phil Chung
    Phil Chung January 29, 2016 at 6:49 pm | | Reply

    The resource is a good starting point, given the complexity of the language. But one should take into the account of the regional variation within the language so it’s best to ask your partner before seeing the family.

    For example, in HK 奶奶 is mother in law (from the girls’ point of view)
    公公,婆婆 are grandparents (mum side of the family). These are some examples I can think of. I’m sure there are many more.

    Our family is fairly chill and we call most of them in first name terms.

  4. Timo
    Timo January 30, 2016 at 4:56 am | | Reply

    This whole thing is always a nightmare for me, even my wife doesn’t get the names right!

  5. Ruth - China Elevator Stories
    Ruth - China Elevator Stories January 30, 2016 at 11:27 am | | Reply

    Even my husband sometimes doesn’t know how to call someone if he doesn’t have that same relative himself. There are just too many different names! I have big troubles remembering all those names, and find it really hard to address people as gege, jiejie, shushu or ayi (also the ones my husband is not related to).

  6. Jonathan
    Jonathan February 18, 2016 at 3:08 pm | | Reply

    Being Chinese and grew up in a Chinese family, I still can’t keep track of all the terms and still have to ask my dad from time to time for clarification! 😀

  7. Cindy Hoffman
    Cindy Hoffman February 25, 2016 at 11:39 pm | | Reply

    Hey Jocelyn, nice write up there and I really feel you when i comes to memorizing those names. I usually laugh off when my cousin usually tries to explain some of the relatives and sometimes I feel that she gets mixed up and I end up asking “I thought you said that was your uncle” LOl. Fun times.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this, will surely be sharing this post with her.


  8. Warren Mundell
    Warren Mundell February 17, 2017 at 1:20 am | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn. I am always happy to visit your blogs. My wife has three brothers, a number one gege, a number 2 gege, and a didi. She also has a son (ersi)?
    Her Didi is divorced, and likes to drink, so when we have a family dinner at a fan dian, he and i stay last, enjoying our drinks. The last time i was shocked, as when we were about to leave, he gave me a long warm hug. Very strange for Chinese to hug. Wow, guess i am really one of the family.

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