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ChubbyCheeks

Translating my thoughts one post at a time…

Formal Family Titles

Updated on 26th Jul

So it seems that in the next novel that there will be lots of formal family titles that are used and unfortunately if I were to translate it it would be read very weirdly or if I were to use the English version of it, it would be over simplifying it.

Example:
Tangjie, what are you doing? Biaoge,did you see what she is doing?

Translated to:

[Exact translation]
Father’s brother’s daughter who is older than me, what are you doing? Mother’s brother’s son who is older than me, did you see what she is doing?

[English version of the title]
Cousin, what are you doing? Cousin, did you see what she is doing?

So I will be using the pronunciation of the Chinese character to retain the meaning behind the words and decided to put up this post to put up the meaning of each title. This post will consist the basic family titles and will be updated if the novels touches more than this.

Family Tree

Check out this Chart made by @NancyC

Grandparents Generation
Zufu/Yeye – Father’s father
Zumu/Nainai – Father’s mother
Waizufu/Waigong – Mother’s father
Waizumu/Popo/laolao/Wai/po – Mother’s mother

Parents’ Generation
Fuqin/D’ye – Father/Dad [will be using the English meaning in my translation]
Muqin/Niang – Mother/Mum [will be using the English meaning in my translation]
Bofu – Father’s older brother
Bomu – Father’s older brother’s wife
Shufu – Father’s younger brother
Shenmu – Father’s younger brother’s wife
Gu Ma – Father’s older sister
Gu Jie – Father’s younger sister
Gu Zhang – Father’s sister’s husband
Jiufu/Jiujiu – Mother’s brother
Jiumu – Mother’s brother’s wife
Yimu – Mother’s elder sister
Yifu/Yizhang – Mother’s elder sister’s husband
Yi – Mother’s younger sister
Yizhang – Mother’s younger sister’s husband

Character’s Generation
Zhang Xiong – Oldest brother/older brother
Xiong/Gege – Older brother
Saozi/Saosao/Sao – Older brother’s wife
Youdi/Didi – Younger brother
Difu/Dimei – Younger brother’s wife
Zhang Jie – Oldest sister
Jiejie/Jie – Older sister
Jiefu – Older sister’s husband
Youmei/Meimei – Younger sister
Meifu – Younger sister’s husband

Tangge/Tangxiong – Father’s brother’s son (older than character)
Tangsao – Father’s brother’s son’s wife
Tangdi – Father’s brother’s son (younger than character)
Tangdimei – Father’s brother’s son’s wife
Tangjie – Father’s brother’s daughter (older than character)
Tangjiefu – Father’s brother’s daughter’s husband
Tangmei – Father’s brother’s daughter (younger than character)
Tangmeifu – Father’s brother’s daughter’s husband
Biaoge – Father’s sister’s son or Mother’s sibling’s son (older than character)
Biaosao – Father’s sister’s son’s wife or Mother’s sibling’s son’s wife
Biaodi – Father’s sister’s son or Mother’s sibling’s son (younger than character)
Biaofu – Father’s sister’s son’s wife or Mother’s sibling’s son’s wife
Biaojie – Father’s sister’s daughter or Mother’s sibling’s daughter (older than character)
Biaojiefu – Father’s sister’s daughter’s husband or Mother’s sibling’s daughter’s son
Biaomei – Father’s sister’s daughter or Mother’s sibling’s daughter (younger than character)
Biaomeifu – Father’s sister’s daughter’s husband or Mother’s sibling’s daughter’s son

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17 thoughts on “Formal Family Titles

  1. After reading numerous Chinese novels, I’m pretty much accustomed to these titles. Still, I can’t help but wish that they have a much simpler honorary title system like in Japan or Philippines. Eh~ either way, I can’t wait to read the next novel. Thanks for translating.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. that’s what i learned when i was small, but later i usually use uncle or aunty. the family tree titles sometime makes my head hurt… 😜

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you so much!! 😘😘😘. Me too! Everyone is uncle and aunty as long as they are older than me. Only my maternal family that I’m close than I will use the family tree titles to address them. Heheh is hard sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the terminology.
    I find that remembering the family tree and titles can be confusing without a picture reference, especially if one is not Chinese and is unfamiliar with the words. So I’d like to create a little tree diagram/outline of the terms you already have here so that it may be easier to look-up and understand.
    As a fan of your translation, this is something I can volunteer to help.
    Please send me an email if your interested.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. mariajess on said:

    Waiting for your next project…..❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ a many many thanks again

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew very few of them…this is ridiculous….Kudos for people who know them all tho

    Liked by 1 person

  7. woa chinese.. i don’t expect that there’s THAT much >.<
    thank you for doing this..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you; this is very informative.
    One question, though: you wrote
    Tangsao – Father’s brother’s son’s wife
    Tangdimei – Father’s brother’s son’s wife
    But Tangsao and Tangdimei can’t be the same, right? From the use of Saosao and Dimei, I guess there is some age factor to consider as well? Like, the tangsao is the wife of an older male cousin (than the speaker), and the tangdimei of a younger male cousin? Really curious about this. And I’ve also seen tangbo used in places? Yet I can’t find it in this glossary, and now I’m confused. Sorry for the trouble. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Whether the character call the wife or husband of the family relative would depend of the relative relationship to the character… There is no age factor but more of who they marry, if the female marry to the Tangge/Tangxiong then she is automatically called Tangsao. If the female marry to the Tangdi then she is automatically called Tangdimei. So there is a possibility of the character calling someone younger than then them as an elder title.

      As for Tangbo, I believe that it is the same as calling Bofu. Calling ppl with their family titles are very confusing and complicated so I understand the questions u ask… Feel free to ask more if u are unsure or if I did not explain clearly

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aha, so the difference between tangsao and tangdimei (both wives of male paternal cousins) is related to age, but not relative to the wives’ age, but to the age of their husbands. So tangsao = wife of OLDER male cousin from father’s side and tangdimei = wife of YOUNGER male cousin from father’s side. This from the perspective of a female speaker (who uses the terms tang sao/dimei) who, of course, inherits the tang relationships of her husband.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Irregardless if the speaker is a female or male, the terms/titles one call is depend on which family member is related to the person.

        Lets say if the female is the relative instead, then the husband title is in relation to the wife position, Tangjiefu = Father’s brother’s OLDER daughter’s husband or Tangmeifu Father’s brother’s YOUNGER daughter’s husband

        Liked by 1 person

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