Chinese honorifics

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Chinese honorifics were developed due to class consciousness and Confucian principles of order and respect in Ancient and Imperial China. The Chinese polite language also affects Japanese honorifics conceptually; both emphasized the idea of classes and in-group vs. out-group. So the language used among friends would be very different from that used among businesspeople. Although most Chinese honorifics have fallen out of use since the end of Imperial China, they can still be understood by most contemporary Chinese speakers. This is partly attributable to the popularity of Chinese historical novels and television dramas, which often employ language from the classical periods. In general, language referring to oneself exhibits self-deprecating humbleness, while language referring to others shows approval and respect.

Because Chinese grammar does not employ the use of inflections, i.e., absent of grammatical conjugation or declension, the Chinese honorifics system differs from the conjugating Korean and Japanese systems. Politeness in Chinese is often achieved by using honorific alternatives, prefixing or suffixing a word with a polite complement, or simply by dropping casual-sounding words.

Example[edit]

你的
你的
(nǐde)

(xìng)

(shì)
甚麼
什么
(shénme)
"What's your last name?"

The sentence above is a perfectly acceptable question when addressing others of equal or lower status. In normal conversation, the extent of making it more polite might be to preface it with a (qǐng, "please"). However, if the addressee is of higher status or the person asking the question wants to show more respect, several changes may occur:

  1. The sentence begins with (lit. "invite", "request")
  2. The sentence includes the interrogative verb or (wèn, "ask") to accommodate this more formal sense of qǐng
  3. The regular second-person pronoun (, "you") is replaced by the honorific second-person pronoun (nín, "you" [cherished])
  4. The honorific adjective or prefix or (guì, lit. "expensive", "valuable") is added before (xìng, "last name") to compliment the addressee
  5. The casual interrogative pronoun 甚麼 or 什么 (shénme, "what") is dropped entirely

The resulting sentence


(qǐng)

(wèn)

(nín)
貴姓
贵姓
(guìxìng)
"Would you permit me to ask you, whom I cherish, for your honorable surname?"

is much more polite and more commonly used among people in formal or careful situations.

Below is a collection of some of the better known honorifics and polite prefixes and suffixes that have been used at one time or another in the Chinese lexicon. Pronunciations given are those of today's Mandarin Chinese. Note that many of these terms became obsolete after the end of the Qing dynasty or were depreciated during the Cultural Revolution and are no longer used.

Referring to oneself[edit]

When referring to oneself, the first-person pronoun was to be avoided in most situations. Persons of lower status – including slaves, children, and youths – were not to use it when speaking to those of higher status, while those of higher status – including lords, parents, and elders – frequently avoided it as a display of humility and virtue. Instead, a third-person descriptor was used, which varied according to the situation. The most extreme form of this tendency was when China's first emperor Shi Huangdi arrogated Chinese's original first-person pronoun (zhèn, "I") entirely to himself, so that the current word (, "I") had to be adopted from an earlier word meaning "body",[1] in the sense of referencing oneself as "this [worthless] body" in conversation.

Referring to onesself in the third-person could be used arrogantly as well, to assert one's superiority or even dominance over one's audience. This was most common in the imperial middle management – the imperial consorts, the army, and the imperial bureaucracy – with the emperor instead often describing himself in sorrowful terms out of respect for his deceased father.

Commoners and the humble[edit]

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
This unintelligent one
*prəʔ This lowly/unlearned one
*bet-s This unkempt/ragged one
*pe bēi This inferior one
*tsʰˤet qiè This thief Employed as an apology when appearing without advanced notice
*bˤok This servant (male) Literally, "charioteer"[2]
*beʔ This servant (female)
*tsʰap qiè This consort
賤妾 *dzen-stsʰap 贱妾 jiànqiè This worthless consort
在下 *dzˤəʔgˤraʔ 在下 zàixià This one who is beneath you
小人 *sewʔniŋ 小人 xiǎorén This little man
小女 *sewʔnraʔ 小女 xiǎonǚ This little woman
草民 *tsʰˤuʔmiŋ 草民 cǎomín This worthless commoner (male)
民女 *miŋnraʔ 民女 mínnǚ This common woman
奴才 *nˤadzˤə 奴才 núcai This slave (male)
奴婢 *nˤabeʔ 奴婢 núbì This slave (female)
奴家 *nˤakˤra 奴家 nújiā This slave of your house (wife)

Emperors and the imperial family[edit]

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
*kʷˤa This orphaned one Employed by the emperor out of respect for his father, who usually (though not always) had predeceased him
*kʷˤraʔ guǎ This lonesome one As above
*kʷˤraʔniŋ 寡人 guǎrén This lonesome one As above
不穀 *pəqˤok 不谷 bùgǔ This grainless one Employed by the emperor out of modesty regarding his administration (cf. the importance of the Five Grains), particularly compared to his father's rule
哀家 *ʔˤəjkˤra 哀家 āijiā This sad house Employed by the emperor's mother out of respect for her deceased husband
臣妾 *gintsʰap 臣妾 chénqiè This subject and consort Employed by the empress before the emperor
兒臣 *ŋegin 儿臣 ěrchén This child and subject Employed by the emperor before the empress dowager and by the imperial family before their parents or the emperor's other consorts
*lrəmʔ zhèn I The original generic first-person pronoun, arrogated to the emperors during the reign of Shi Huangdi
本宮 本宫 běngōng The Palace Employed by an empress or a high-ranking consort when speaking to a person or an audience of lower rank or status

Officials and officers[edit]

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
*gin chén This subject Employed by officials when addressing the emperor, based on a word that originally meant "slave" during the Zhou dynasty.[3] In formal writing, the character was written in half the size of the normal font.[citation needed]
下官 *gˤraʔkʷˤan 下官 xiàguān This lowly official Employed by officials when addressing other bureaucrats of higher rank
末官 *mˤatkʷˤan 末官 mòguān This lesser official As above.
小吏 *sewʔrəʔ‑s 小吏 xiǎolì This little clerk As above.
卑職 *petək 卑职 bēizhí This inferior office Employed by officials when addressing their patrons or other bureaucrats of equal rank
末將 *mˤattsaŋ‑s 末将 mòjiàng This lesser commander Employed by military officers when addressing other officers of higher rank
本官 *pˤənʔkʷˤan 本官 běnguān The Official Employed by officials when addressing those of lower status
本帥 *pˤənʔs‑rut‑s 本帅 běnshuài The General Employed by general officers when addressing their commanders
本將軍 *pˤənʔtsaŋ‑skʷər 本将军 běnjiāngjun The General of the Army Employed by general officers when addressing their commanders

Old men and women[edit]

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
老朽 *rˤuʔqʰuʔ 老朽 lǎoxiǔ This old and rotting one
老拙 *rˤuʔtot 老拙 lǎozhuó This old and clumsy one
老身 *rˤuʔn̥iŋ 老身 lǎoshēn This old body Employed by elderly women
老漢 *rˤuʔn̥ˤar-s 老汉 lǎohàn This old man
老夫 *rˤuʔpa 老夫 lǎofū This old and respected man

Scholars and monks[edit]

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
小生 *sewʔsreŋ 小生 xiǎoshēng This later-born one Literally "smaller-born" but Chinese uses the idea of "big" and "small" in reference to age – e.g., 你多大? ("How big are you?") is a question about one's age and not about height or weight
晚生 *morʔsreŋ 晚生 wǎnshēng This later-born one
晚輩 晚辈 wǎnbèi This later-born one Literally "[belonging to a] later generation"
晚學 *morʔm‑kˤruk 晚学 wǎnxué This later-taught one
不才 *pədzˤə 不才 bùcái This inept one
不佞 不佞 búnìng This incapable one
不肖 *pəsew‑s 不肖 búxiào This unequal one Literally "unlike", but implying the speaker is unequal to the capability and talent of his audience
老衲 老衲 lǎonà This old and patched one Employed by monks, in reference to their tattered robes
貧僧 贫僧 pínsēng This pennyless monk
貧尼 贫尼 pínní This pennyless nun
貧道 *brənkə.lˤuʔ 贫道 píndào This pennyless priest/priestess Employed by Taoist adepts

Families[edit]

Some of the following are still in use today in various Chinese dialects.

Traditional
Chinese
Old
Chinese
[2]
Simplified
Chinese
Pinyin Meaning Notes
寒舍 *ə.gˤanr̥ak-s 寒舍 hánshè This humble abode Literally "cold lodging-house"; could be used as a metonym for the family itself
- 愚- These unintelligent... A prefix used when referring to oneself and another family member: this unintelligent couple (愚夫婦), this unintelligent father and son (愚父子), these unintelligent brothers (愚兄弟), &c.
- *kˤra 家- jiā My house's... A prefix used when referring to living elder family members: my father (家父), my elder brother (家兄), &c.
- *sˤər 先- xiān Deceased... Literally "first", a prefix used when referring to deceased elder family members: my late father (先父), my late elder brother (先兄), &c.
- *r̥ak-s 舍- shě My place's... Literally "my lodging-house's", a prefix used when referring to younger family members: my younger brother (舍弟), my younger sister (舍妹), &c.
- *nˤəp 内- nèi ...inside A prefix used when referring to one's wife (内人, 内子, &c.)
拙荊 *totkreŋ 拙荆 zhuōjīng That/you clumsy thorn Employed by men to address or refer to their wives
賤內 *dzen-snˤəp 贱内 jiànnèi That/you worthless one inside Employed by men to address or refer to their wives
拙夫 *totpa 拙夫 zhuōfū That clumsy man Employed by wives to refer to their husbands
犬子 *kʷʰˤenʔtsəʔ 犬子 quǎnzǐ That/you dog Employed by parents to address or refer to their sons
小兒 *sewʔŋe 小儿 xiǎoér This little son
小女 *sewʔnraʔ 小女 xiǎonǚ This little daughter

Addressing or referring to others[edit]

The same concept of hierarchical speech and etiquette affects terms of address towards others as well as oneself. In most cases in modern Chinese, politeness can be expressed by replacing the standard second-person pronoun (, "you") with its polite form (nǐn, "you" [cherished]).

In a historical context (and in some modern contexts), the audience's title or profession is used in place of the historic second-person pronouns and (ěr, "you") or the modern . In other cases, there might be specific alternatives to be employed instead. Below are examples of proper substitutes:

Emperors[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
萬歲 万岁 wànsuì You, of Ten Thousand Years. "Ten thousand" is a marker for a large number, much as "million" is used figuratively in English. "Years" here refers specifically to years of age. It may be roughly translated as "Long live the Emperor!".
萬歲爺 万岁爷 wànsuìyé You, the Lord of Ten Thousand Years An informal way of addressing the emperor directly. Usually used by the emperor's personal attendants.
聖上 圣上 shèngshàng You, the Holy and Exalted One May be used when addressing the emperor directly or when referring to the emperor in the third person.
聖駕 圣驾 shèngjià His Majesty Literally means "holy procession". Used when referring to the emperor in the third person, especially when the emperor was on the move.
天子 天子 tiānzǐ The Son of Heaven
陛下 陛下 bìxià Your Majesty Literally means "beneath the ceremonial ramp". It was used by officials when they addressed the emperor directly.
龍體 龙体 lóngtǐ His Majesty's health Literally means "dragon's body". Referring to the emperor's body or his health. Examples: 龍體欠安 (the Emperor is not feeling well); 龍體無恙 (the Emperor is well) etc.
龍顏 龙颜 lóngyán His Majesty's feelings Literally means "dragon's face". Referring to the emperor's mood, emotions, or facial expressions. Examples: 龍顏大悅 (the Emperor is very pleased); 龍顏大怒 (the Emperor is furious) etc.

Important people[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
殿下 殿下 diànxià Your Highness Literally means "beneath your palace". Used when addressing members of the imperial family, such as princes and princesses.
王爺 王爷 wángyé Your Highness An informal way of addressing a prince or a vassal king.
爵爺 爵爷 juĕyé My Lord An informal way of addressing dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons.
麾下 麾下 huīxià Sir Literally means "beneath your flag". Used when addressing generals and military officers.
qīng My subject Literally means "official". Used by the emperor and members of the imperial family when they address officials. Examples: 愛卿 (my dear subject) etc.
節下 节下 jiéxià Your Excellency Literally means "beneath your ceremonial banner". Used when addressing ambassadors from foreign lands.

The following are commonly used today.

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
閣下 阁下 géxià Literally means "beneath your pavilion". Used when addressing important people, or to show respect to the person.
前輩 前辈 qiánbèi Literally means "you, who belong to an older generation". Used when addressing an elderly person or someone in the same profession who is more senior than the speaker.
台端 台端 táiduān "台" refers to the Three Ducal Ministers, the three highest-ranked officials in the Zhou Dynasty. "端" is the honorific for assisting and advisory officials in the Six Dynasties. It is usually used in formal writing when addressing a person of similar social status.
同志 同志 tóngzhì Comrade Literally means "you, who share the same ambition with me". Used by members of the Nationalist and Communist parties to address fellow members of the same conviction. It is also used by some older citizens in China to address strangers. However, now among the younger and more urban Chinese, "同志" has definite implications of homosexuality (not necessarily in a pejorative way, however, as it has been adopted by the gay community, and thus is more analogous to the English term queer as compared to faggot).

By titles:

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
先生 先生 xiānshēng Mr.
小姐 / 姑娘 小姐 / 姑娘 xiăojiě / gūniang Ms. The use of "xiaojie" is taboo in some parts of China as it may refer to prostitutes. In Suzhou, "xiaojie" is substituted with "yatou" (simplified Chinese: 丫头; traditional Chinese: 丫頭; pinyin: yātou), which in turn may be considered offensive in other parts of China because "yatou" also means "dumb girl".
女士 女士 nǚshì Madam
夫人 夫人 fūrén Mrs.
博士 博士 bóshì Dr. Refers to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) holder.
醫生 医生 yīshēng Dr. Refers to a medical doctor. "Daifu" (Chinese: 大夫; pinyin: dàifū) sometimes used, usually in mainland China.
經理 经理 jīnglǐ Manager
老師 老师 lǎoshī Teacher "Laoshi" may sometimes be used as a polite reference to a more highly educated person, who may not necessarily be a teacher.
師父 师父 shīfù Master See Sifu for further information.
師傅 师傅 shīfù Master See Sifu for further information.
修士 修士 xīushì Monk (Catholic)
神父 神父 shénfù Priest (Catholic); Father
執士 执士 zhíshì Deacon (Christian)
牧師 牧师 mùshī Pastor (Christian)
主教 主教 zhǔjiào Bishop (Christian)
法師 法师 fǎshī Monk (Buddhist)
仙姑 仙姑 xiāngū Priestess (Taoist) "Daogu" (Chinese: 道姑; pinyin: dàogū) is also used sometimes.
道長 道长 dàozhăng Priest / Priestess (Taoist)
爵士 爵士 juéshì Sir (Knighthood)
shèng St. Used as a prefix to indicate holiness. May not necessarily be applied to only Catholic saints.

The addressee's family members[edit]

The following terms are still in use today:

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
令尊 令尊 lìngzūn Your father Literally means "the beautiful and respected one". "Lingzunweng" (Chinese: 令尊翁; pinyin: lìngzūnwēng) is sometimes used.
令堂 令堂 lìngtáng Your mother Literally means "the beautiful and dignified one". "Lingshoutang" (simplified Chinese: 令寿堂; traditional Chinese: 令壽堂; pinyin: lìngshòutáng) is sometimes used.
令閫 令阃 lìngkǔn Your wife Literally means "the beautiful door to the woman's room".
令兄 令兄 lìngxiōng Your elder brother Literally means "the beautiful elder brother".
令郎 令郎 lìngláng Your son Literally means "the beautiful young man". "Linggongzi" (Chinese: 令公子; pinyin: lìnggōngzǐ) is sometimes used.
令愛 令爱 lìng'ài Your daughter Literally means "the beautiful and beloved one". Another form of "ling'ai" (simplified Chinese: 令嫒; traditional Chinese: 令嬡; pinyin: lìng'ài) is sometimes used.
令千金 令千金 lìngqiānjīn Your daughter Literally means "the beautiful one who is worth a thousand gold".
尊上 尊上 zūnshàng Your father Literally means "the respected one above".
尊公 尊公 zūngōng Your father Literally means "the respected lord". "Zunjun" (Chinese: 尊君; pinyin: zūnjūn) and "zunfu" (Chinese: 尊府; pinyin: zūnfǔ) are sometimes used.
尊堂 尊堂 zūntáng Your mother Literally means "the respected and dignified one".
尊親 尊亲 zūnqīn Your parents Literally means "the respected and loved ones".
尊駕 尊驾 zūnjià You, the respected one Literally means "the respected procession". Used when referring to a guest or a person of higher social status.
賢喬梓 贤乔梓 xiánqiáozǐ You, the virtuous father and son
賢伉儷 贤伉俪 xiánkànglì You, the virtuous husband and wife
賢昆仲 贤昆仲 xiánkūnzhòng You, the virtuous brothers
賢昆玉 贤昆玉 xiánkūnyù You, the virtuous sisters

One's own family[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
賢妻 贤妻 xiánqī You, my virtuous wife
賢弟 贤弟 xiándì You, my virtuous younger brother "Xiandi" (simplified Chinese: 贤棣; traditional Chinese: 賢棣; pinyin: xiándì) is another less commonly used form.
賢侄 贤侄 xiánzhì You, my virtuous nephew
fūrén You, my wife Uncertain if this translation is modern or obsolete.
夫君 夫君 fūjūn You, my husband and master
郎君 郎君 lángjūn You, my husband and master Archaic
官人 官人 guānrén You, my husband Means more like "Official man", like "The Man", like as the term used for the police. It might have been Archaic for "Husband" at one time, but seems unlikely said to be.
相公 相公 xiànggōng You, my husband Obsolete. It now refers to a male prostitute.
丈夫 丈夫 zhàngfu You, my husband A modern translation probably used in mainland China.
夫婿 夫婿 fūxù You, my husband A modern translation of "Husband", meaning more like "A grown-up son-in-law that's now a husband".
仁兄 仁兄 rénxiōng You, my kind elder brother
ài You, my beloved / Love A prefix to show affection for lovers. Examples: 愛妻 (my beloved wife); 愛姬 (my beloved concubine); 愛妾 (my beloved concubine) etc.

Friends[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
賢家 贤家 xiánjiā You Literally means "the virtuous house".
賢郎 贤郎 xiánláng You, the virtuous young man Referring to one's son.
賢弟 贤弟 xiándì You, the virtuous younger brother Could be either addressing one's own younger brother or referring to the addressee's younger brother.
仁兄 仁兄 rénxiōng You, the kind elder brother Used when addressing an older male friend.
仁公 仁公 réngōng You, the kind lord Used when addressing a person more senior than the speaker.

Elders[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
zhàng A prefix for elderly persons.
太 / 大 太 / 大 tài / dà A prefix for elders.
太后 太后 tàihòu Empress Dowager
太父 太父 tàifǔ Grandfather
太母 太母 tàimǔ Grandmother

The deceased[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
xiān A prefix for deceased persons older than the speaker.
先帝 先帝 xiāndì The late emperor Referring to the deceased former emperor.
先考 先考 xiānkǎo My late father
先父 先父 xiānfù My late father
先慈 先慈 xiāncí My late mother
先妣 先妣 xiānbǐ My late mother
先賢 先贤 xiānxián The late virtuous Referring to a deceased person who was highly regarded.
wáng A prefix for deceased persons younger than the speaker. Examples: 亡弟 (deceased younger brother); 亡兒 (deceased child) etc.

The following are commonly found in spiritual tablets and gravestones:

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
顯考 显考 xiǎnkǎo (My) honorable late father
顯妣 显妣 xiǎnbǐ (My) honorable late mother

Strangers or social encounters[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
guì A prefix for persons and others things affiliated to the addressee. It is used for the purposes of courtesy and formality.
貴子弟 贵子弟 guìzǐdì Your son(s)
貴子女 贵子女 guìzǐnǚ Your children
貴家長 贵家长 gùijiāzhǎng Your parent(s)
貴公司 贵公司 guìgōngsī Your company
貴國 贵国 guìguó Your country
貴姓 贵姓 guìxìng Your surname / family name Used when asking for the addressee's surname or family name.
貴庚 贵庚 guìgēng Your age Used when asking for the addressee's age.
bǎo A prefix that means "valuable" or "precious".
貴寶號 贵宝号 guìbǎohào Your valuable business
相公 相公 xiànggōng Young man An obsolete term of address for a young man. It may now refer to a male prostitute.
府上 府上 fǔshàng Your stately residence
貴府 贵府 guìfǔ Your noble residence

Other prefixes and suffixes[edit]

Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Pinyin Meaning Notes
阿~ 阿~ ā Ah~ A prefix that shows affection or intimacy. Examples: 阿伯 (uncle); 阿妹 (sister); 阿哥 (brother); 阿爸 (father) etc.
本~ 本~ bĕn This~ / Our~ A prefix for things affiliated to oneself. Examples: 本公司 (this company / our company); 本校 (this school / our school) etc.
為~ 为~ wéi I, your~ Examples: 為父 (I, your father); 為母 (I, your mother); 為兄 (I, your elder brother) etc.
敝~ 敝~ My~ / Our~ A prefix for things affiliated to oneself. Examples: 敝公司 (this company / our company); 敝校 (this school / our school) etc.
~君 ~君 jūn A suffix used for a male friend or a respected person.
~姬 ~姬 A suffix used for a female friend, maiden. "Guniang" (Chinese: 姑娘; pinyin: gūniang) is sometimes used.
~郎 ~郎 láng A suffix used for an intimate male friend or one's husband.
~子 ~子 A suffix used for a wise or learned man. "Fuzi" (Chinese: 夫子; pinyin: fūzǐ is sometimes used.
~兄 ~兄 xiōng brother A suffix used for a friend.
~公 ~公 gōng A suffix used for a respected person.
~足下 ~足下 zúxià A suffix for a friend in writing a letter.
~先生 ~先生 xiānshēng Mr. A suffix used for a person in a profession.
~前輩 ~前辈 qiánbeì A suffix used for an elder or a more senior person in the same profession as the speaker.
~大人 ~大人 dàrén Sir / Madam A suffix used for an official or a person in authority.
~氏 ~氏 shì A suffix used after a surname to address someone not of personal acquaintance.
~兒 ~儿 ér son A suffix used for a young person.
~哥 ~哥 elder brother A suffix used for an older male friend or relative.
~弟 ~弟 younger brother A suffix used for a younger male friend or relative.
~姐 ~姐 jiĕ elder sister A suffix used for an older female friend or relative.
~妹 ~妹 mèi younger sister A suffix used for a younger female friend or relative.

Salutations[edit]

Salutation is used at the beginning of a speech or a letter to address the audience or recipient(s). In the English language, salutations are usually in the form "Dear...". However, the Chinese language has more variations for salutation, which are used in different situations. Here are a few examples in modern Chinese:

  • 親愛的...·亲爱的... (qīn'aì de): Dear (beloved)
  • 尊敬的... (zūnjìng de): Revered ...
  • 敬愛的...·敬爱的... (jìng'aì de): Dear esteemed ...

Pejorative slang[edit]

It has been a tradition for many years in China to address oneself colloquially using these pronouns in place of "I" to indicate contempt for the listener, to assert the superiority of oneself, or when teasing:

  • 老子 (Lǎozi, not to be confused with Laozi the philosopher, written the same way): I, your dad (referring to oneself as superior)
  • 爺·爷 (Yé): I, your lord. Used in parts of Northern China
  • 恁爸 (Hokkien: lín-pē): I, your dad (referring to oneself as superior).

When used towards a person less well known or on formal occasions, both terms are considered to be incredibly rude, and are usually used to purposely disgrace the addressee; however, it is less of an issue when spoken among close friends, though even some friends might still be offended by their use.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 《汉典》 [Chinese Dictionary]. "". Accessed 21 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Baxter, Wm. H. & Sagart, Laurent. Baxter–Sagart Old Chinese Reconstruction. 2011. Accessed 21 August 2013.
  3. ^ Tschang, Yinpo. "Shih and Zong: Social Organization in Bronze Age China, p. 14. Sino-Platonic Papers, #140. June 2004. Accessed 21 August 2013.