In China, why do children call all middle age men uncle and all MA women aunt?

... even though they only have a handful of uncles and aunts. They also call all seniors grandpa/grandma.

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    As others have said, it's a term of respect. My children address every adult in their life with a title of respect. In Chinese, they use "Aunt," "Uncle," "Grandmother," "Grandfather," and "Teacher."

    In English, they use "Aunt," "Uncle," "Mr." "Miss" or "Mrs." I ask the adult if they prefer being known by their first or last name (Example: Mrs. Yang vs Miss Sally) and we go from there. My children are NOT allowed to call adults by their first names, even though many adults say it's okay for them to do so.

    Different cultures have different mores and norms. It's easy to say that children in western cultures have lost respect because they don't use a title with adults, but as time goes on, I find more and more adults who don't wish to be addressed with a title because it makes them feel "old." This is a cultural shift and while some people may be uncomfortable with that shift, it doesn't make it wrong.

    The reason I choose to have my children use a term of respect is so they readily recognize who the authority figures are in their lives.

    In China, small children will even call other children with a "title." Just today, my son (soon-to-be 9 years old) was called "ge ge" (older brother) by a child in the grade below him. This is quite common among all children to address each other by "ge ge," "di di" (younger brother), "jie jie" (older sister) or "mei mei" (younger sister).

    All of these titles are very helpful when you've forgotten someone's name!

  • just to show respect. A man similar to daddy's age is an uncle, a woman similar to mom's age is an aunt.

    if i meet these yahoo people in person, i will call Bsherman, WNL, crazyfrank, sailor, Flingebunt, maybe also Richard, Brad, Frank S, Longlive, Coolz, ricomon, xiao xiong, Banana man, Bshimworm, bin laden, Han etc...''uncle''叔叔.

    I will call Crafty, Cisco, Hai Bo, Elena etc...''aunt''姨.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is an act of respect. In a sense it is sort of the equivalent to sir and ma'am in English. In Chinese culture family and respect for elders are some of the most important things.

  • 1 decade ago

    This phenomenon is not unique to China but happens in several Asian countries. They are uncomfortable with addressing people older than themselves by their name so they use terms like uncle, aunt, elder brother, elder sister etc.

    Source(s): 6 years in Shanghai + 10 years in Wuhan
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 4 years ago

    What Is Uncle In Chinese

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i'm Chinese, your question makes me laugh a lot, haha~~

    Actually, in China, we call Dad's older brother "伯Bo(transliteration)", younger brother "叔Shu”, Dad's sister is called "姑Gu“; and Mom's brother is "舅Jiu”, sister is "姨Yi", these titles are for persons who have blood relationships with you.

    "叔叔Shushu“and”阿姨Ayi“are titles for the people who are not family members but at the same age with our parents, just to show respect.

    But the problem is English didn't have so many titles, we have to translate "伯Bo" &"叔Shu” &"舅Jiu”&"叔叔Shushu“ all into "uncle", and "姑Gu“&"姨Yi"&”阿姨Ayi“all into "aunt"....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Children use the terms for aunt and uncle as a sign of respect. Many years ago, children in the United States used "mister" and "missus" when addressing adults, but those good manners are long gone.

    Showing respect for others is common practice in Asian countries, but is a lost art in western cultures.

    Source(s): 5 years in Shanghai
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.