Addressing Chinese extended family members is complicated, as it’s about each individual’s relation to the other. Relatives are called not by their given names, but by the social tie. The complicatedness is further confused as as person older than yourself (e.g. younger cousin) gets address differently from an person younger than yourself … and the gender factors in, too.
Did you know that every member of a Chinese family is called something different? Depending on whether it’s from your mom’s side or your dad’s side and their seniority? It gets quite confusing, so we will draw it out for you in a family tree and hope you can learn some Chinese along the way! 🙂 Please don’t mind our terrible handwriting!
Watch the behind the scenes on how we created the family tree:http://e.ntd.tv/WefUsf
Note: There are still many more ways to call the same person, for example husband’s mother can be called 家姑，家婆，婆婆 or 奶奶. This all depends on where you are from. To keep it simple, we just chose the more generic terms.
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Another reason for trepidation in visiting the ancestral village this summer!
Video at The Complicated Chinese Family Tree (streaming video) | Feb. 26, 2013 | Off the Great Wall http://youtu.be/nCFRoILS1jY