Family members

April 16, 2021

Traditionally the word "family" [家庭 - jiātíng] has a very significant meaning for the Chinese: the Confucianism is based on the idea that family is the fundament of society and its culture. Following this concept specific roles of family members have been described:

The head of the family [father - 爸爸 - bàba] is expected to be a "guard" and a "leader" who would protect, guide and take all serious life decisions on behalf of his family.

His wife and mother of his children [mother - 妈妈 - māmā] is pictured as a kind and loving woman taking care of the household, she performs a "supportive" function in this hierarchy.

Children [孩子们 - háizimen] are considered to be continuation of the family, "the future", so they have to be educated strictly but fairly, in unquestioning obedience. 


Grandparents are the roots, the "wisdom" and the "spirituality" of a family tree, so they are treated with utmost respect and care. 

PS: Have you noticed that the grandparents from the maternal and paternal sides are called differently? This phenomenon has a historical explanation. Due to patriarchal Chinese culture, parents of men are considered to be of a "higher importance" than parents of women, so grandparents on the paternal side have regular names, while on the maternal side - have names beginning with "wài" [外], which means "outside" (the family).

Written by Yulia Chiaradia for IMCPI

Family members in Chinese.jpg