Ancient Terminologies: What People call People

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-兄/-xiong: Means brother, but formal. Usually same age or older, but can be on younger people to show certain respect. Often seen used to address newly acquainted friend. Must used surname in front (Tian-xiong). Cannot be used by itself.

-师兄/-shixiong: Exclusively used with old disciples of the same sect or of the same alliance. Can use surname (Lu-shixiong) or number in front (da-shixiong, er-shixiang, where "da"=big and "er"=two). Can be used by itself in addressing the person.

-哥/-ge: Literally big brother, informal. Use on older or same age. Can use surname or number. Usually related or have taken vows of blood (a process know as Jiebai). Can be used by itself in addressing the person.

-哥哥/-gege: An term of endearment. Used by little kids, especially girls. Can be used with surnames, number (though I can't remember a time when it's gone past 2), or by itself.

[Hence the scene in Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei where Hu cringed when Xiaomei called Gexiao "Gege", whereas the former thought it was "gege", the later meant "Ge[Name]-ge"]

-弟/-di: Literally little brother, used with same age or younger. I don't remember ever seeing it use with surnames. almost used exclusively with numbers.

-弟弟/-didi: Used only by itself. Like gege is usually used by the youngest to address/refer to the older ones, didi is used almost exclusively by older ones on youngest brother.

-贤弟/-xiandi: Literally "virtuous little brother". very formal way to refer/address to little brother. usually used by those of high power/status towards equals or lower in formal setting.

-兄弟/-xiongdi: Inclusive of older and younger, equi. usually used alone, can take surnames but not numbers. there's a semantic level of this honorific, which is that it's only used for those who are real pals, so to speak.

-师父/-shifu: This is the Shifu that teaches you stuff, often translated as master. This person is like your parents. Really can be male or female, but male most of the time. this is more of a title. Can take surname, number (if you're lucky) or used by itself.

-师傅/shifu: This is the Shifu that's the true honorific. You don't choose who to call to call 师父, but you can with this Shifu. It's like the difference between calling someone sir because they're knighted or you're his butler and calling someone sir because you have respect for the person or you don't know the person and you're polite. Although don't worry too much about the difference between the two Shifu's that look different but sound alike, even natives make this mistake. Can take surname, or used by itself. Usually only male, but occasionally used on female to show extreme respect.

-叔/-shu: Usually translated as uncle, brothers of father. Used with numbers.

-大叔/-dashu: Often also translated as uncle, however this can literally be any male a generation above you that's not your father, including strangers. Used with surnames, nicknames, or by itself. Sometimes used to tease same generation older males about their excessive maturity, if that's even possible...

-相公/-xianggong: "Opposing male”, a way to address and refer to husband. intimate and rather informal.

-官人/-guanren: "Official person", very formal way of saying "husband"

-夫君/-fujun: "Husband man" formal.

-孩子他/她爹(/爸) or 她/他爹(/爸)/ haizitadie(/ba) or tadie(/ba): Literally, "child his/her father" or "his father", used to address a father.

-老爷 / laoye: "Old man", usually translated as "old master", especially when said by servants, but can also be used by wife of older men to refer to her husband.

-老头子 /laotouzi: "Old man", very informal. If used by a wife, it probably means the couple has been through a lot and is one that everyone can envy. When used by arrogant brats, it's an insult.


-姐/jie: Sister, surname, number, or by itself.

-大姐/dajie: Big sister, in addition to refer to oldest sister, it can be used on older female of same generation that are strangers. Also commonly used to address an older women who's obviously a generation above you to flatter them, but if addressing someone who's obviously young can be insulting. Also used by adult women of similar age with each others. Surname or by itself. Note that in real life in China, it is now preferable to address any women as "xiaojie", see below.

-小姐/xiaojie: Literally "small sister", but it has exclusively taken on the meaning of miss. By itself or with surname. Used on daughters of family that at least have servants, so any where from officials to business men. Can also be used on any female strangers of the same generation, or used on much older women as flattery or sarcastic insult. Like miss in English, it also take the meaning of older women who are not married. Used with surname to indicate house of origin, or with numbers to indicate rank within the family. Stand alone is used with strangers.

-师姐/shijie: Older female disciples of same generation, surnames, number or by itself.

-姐姐/jiejie: Endearment form of older sister. informal. surname, number or by itself.

-妹/mei: Younger sister,

-舍妹/shemei: Humble form of "my sister", formal, when addressing superior

-妹子/meizi: Informal way of referring and addressing little sister. a form of endearment used often by males when "meimei" is too sentimental sounding.

-师妹/shimei: Younger female discipline of same generation. surname, number or by itself.

-妹妹/meimei: Endearment of "sister", informal. surname or by itself.

-娘/niang: "mother", but also "aunt", surname. By itself means "mother". (Seen more in Sichuan dialect, adding number to this word indicate ranks of aunts on the fathers side) Not to be confused with the "niang" that's in the actual name of people. (ex: Xi Shi San Niang, from Liao Zhai, or San Niang, from Strange Heroes Yi Zhi Mei, both played by Liu Shi Shi.)

-大妈/dama: Usually used to address women a generation above. informal. Can be used to address strangers. Can take surnames.

-大娘/daniang: Similar to "dama", but more formal and respecting.

-娘子/niangzi: One of the most common way of saying "wife". Can also be used to refer to an unmarried women, equivalent to madam in certain periods (with in the ancient Chinese timeline). (ex: Bai Niang Zi, or Madam White in Legend of the White Snake. Or "xiao niang zi", although when this appears in an ancient Chinese series, it's usually either derogatory to the woman it refers to, or is said by some rapist to address the woman they're abducting/seducing/trying to rap).

-妾室/qieshi: "Wife/concubine room", use to refer to any woman married to the man, can also refer to all wives of a man, can also be used as self referring pronoun when used by wife addressing the husband.

-内人/neiren: "Inside person", normal to informal way of referring "wife", usually exclusively one or first wife.

-孩子他/她娘/(/妈) or 她/他娘(/妈) / haizita'niang(/ma) or ta'niang(/ma): Literally "child his mother" or "his mother", used to address a mother.


-知己/zhiji: "Know self", a combination of muse and best friend. basically someone who knows self.

-老/lao: "Old", equivalent to John --> Old John, but in addition to the referring property of its English conterpart, it can also be used in address. Indicate intimacy/familiarity. Used with surname, or number to indicate ranking between siblings or vowed-siblings.

-小/xiao: "Little", equivalent to John --> L'il John, this prefix is added to surname, name, or parts of name to indicated familiarity , and serves as a nickname. This is not to be confused with people whose actual name has this character. (ex: Shi Xiaolong, who plays the little monk Zhan Zhao in Young Justice Bao series, has the "xiao" character in his name, but it's his actual name, not a nickname). Usually used with young people.

-阿/a: Same as "xiao", also can be part of person's name (ex: A Nu, from Chinese Paladin I). commonly used with servants. similar to a Sam --> Sammy kind of change.

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