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Jul 22, 2013

இ Chinese Kinship

Two men struck up a conversation in a pub and one of them kept complaining of family problems with 同父異母 *tóng fù yì mǔ* 'same father but different mothers'. Finally the other man said: "You think you have family problems? Listen to my situation". "A few years ago, I met a young widow with a grown-up daughter, we got married and I got myself a step-daughter. Later, my father married my step-daughter. That made my step-daughter my step-mother and my father became my step-son. Also, my wife became mother-in-law of her father-in-law."

"Much later the daughter of my wife, my step-mother had a son. This boy was my half brother because he was my father's son. But he was also the son of my wife's daughter which made him my wife's grandson. That made me the grandfather of my half brother."

"This was nothing until my wife and I had a son. Now the half sister of my son, my step-mother is also the Grandmother. That makes my father, the brother-in-law of my child, whose step-sister is my father's wife, I am my step-mother's brother-in-law, my wife is her own child's aunt, my son is my father's nephew and I am my OWN GRANDFATHER!"

"And you think you have FAMILY PROBLEMS!?"



It was a pleasant Sunday morning, so nice to ��檯腳 *jaang3 toi4 goek3* 'stretch table leg' 'Cantonese: lit. stretch one's legs over the dining table legs' with Mango enjoying a simple dimsum breakfast. We noticed a family of four sitting across the next table having similarity in their facial features. Out of curiosity we 'played' Sherlock Holmes in guessing their relationship. Bingo! When the kid uttered two words, he solved the mystery for us by just calling out 叔公 *shūgōng* to the guy wearing the checked shirt. On the boy's right is his father and the older man on the far left is his grandfather and the guy at the center with checked shirt whom the kid called out as 叔公 *shūgōng* is his grandfather's younger brother aka Great Uncle.

sisters, brother, 舅 *jiù* 'uncle', 姨 *yí* 'aunt', 表 *biǎo* 'cousins'

Excerpt from Wikipedia: The Chinese kinship system (traditional Chinese: 親屬系統; pinyin: qīn shǔ xì tǒng) is classified as a Sudanese kinship system (also referred to as the "Descriptive system") used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Sudanese system is one of the six major kinship systems together with Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, and Omaha. The Sudanese kinship system (and hence the Chinese kinship system), is the most complicated of all kinship systems. It maintains a separate designation for almost every one of ego's kin based on their generation, their lineage, their relative age, and their gender.


In the Chinese kinship system: Maternal and paternal lineages are distinguished. For example, a mother's brother and a father's brother have different terms. The relative age of a sibling relation is considered. For example, a father's younger brother has a different terminology than his older brother.

Bananaz Paternal lineages:
伯 *bó* dad's elder brother [paternal elder uncle]
叔 *shū* dad's younger brother [paternal younger uncle]
姑 *gū* dad's elder or younger sister [paternal aunt]
堂 *táng* dad's brothers' children (sons & daughters) [paternal cousins]

Bananaz Maternal lineages:
舅 *jiù* mom's elder or younger brother [maternal uncle]
姨 *yí* mom's elder or younger sister [maternal aunt]
表 *biǎo* mom's brother or sister's children (no seniority) [maternal cousins]

The above may be very confusing and would better stop here for the time being if not it could be stretched to a mile long and that would be even more complicated. For easier understanding the surname of each individual and age factor in terms of seniority from the paternal lineage would determine a different terminology where else for the maternal lineage surname, age and seniority does not apply.

78 Bunchesஇ:

mNhL said...

haha...i read that joke somewhere. It was really confusing.

[SK] said...

that story ended up not about 親屬 but totally a 亂倫!! haha, if you google this term, it explains exactly the situation of that men with his "family problem".. i was also confused with all the different and dual relationships of the people, but really amazed at how it ended up with him being his own grandfather~~ LOL!!!

lina said...

Aiyoh! Pening!

LOL

Nikki Cheah Attenbrough said...

Hillarious!! LOL.... =]]
Also, I have to add, I think the Korean kinship system is worse. There's a different title for your father's brother who's unmarried versus one who's married. Blek!!! =P
And then if you're a girl, you call your older brother and older sister by a different title than if you're a boy. So I would say Chinese kinship system is relatively easier =]]

By the day, my dear father, what is my photo doing here?? Pay royalty! Kidding.. Kekeke =]]

[SK] said...

yeah, the chinese really have a very sophisticated kinship system, those examples Bananaz laid down in the post are just the common ones.. you have never seen more complicated one which are often those relatives that are not that close to you.. what do you call your grandfather's cousin's mother's nephew's aunt's daugther's brother-in-law's younger brother's grandson's wife's mother??

[SK] said...

ah, that table of guys Bananaz met on that Sunday.. great to see the kid called that old man 叔公 and not the other way round.. not surprising that there are such cases, especially in big families.. according to the kinship system, a baby can be just born but a grand-uncle of another adult~~ :D

Hayley said...

Haha, I agree with SK, not really 'family problems', but it's 乱伦 la! :p

இBananazஇ said...

mNhl இ It was an old joke in circulation for a few years ago

lina இ Jangan jatuh haha.

Nikki இ Annyeonghaseyo(안녕하세요)! Wow more heachaches in Korea huh. Great to see your comment for the very first time here haha. Ooops thought could escape the copyright issue by not using others photo but kena pay royalty by using own pixz pula. On the contrary you gotta pay me for advertising leh. Father and daughter no kira one right? haha

Twilight Man said...

Your post is confusing dei. What happened to you? Muahahahaha
It sounded like several bastards were born after criss-cross marriages!!!

I also have this habit to stare at the next tables when the man is old with young lady beside and big small kids.

இBananazஇ said...

SK இ Googled its incest haha. Wanted to put the 'mixed wrong bones' but no able to 'spell' in Chinese so gotta give it up then.

SK இ Wah big issue here "grandfather's cousin's mother's nephew's aunt's daughter's brother-in-law's younger brother's grandson's wife's mother??" Answer call 'Auntie" loh kow thim haha.

SK இ True have seen cases a baby has a 'senior' rank than an adult.

Hayley இ Truly a 'mixed wrong bones' haha.

இBananazஇ said...

Twilight Man இ Very easy mah. The old man is the father with his daughter & grand children. Nothing to stare at? Why so kaypo like Bananaz? hahaha.

Somewhere in Singapore said...

Confusing, hehe....

wenn said...

it could be very confusing but they wouldn't care as long as they themselves are happy.

[SK] said...

grandfather's cousin's mother's nephew's aunt's daughter's brother-in-law's younger brother's grandson's wife's mother?? is "Auntie"?? aiyoh, cannot generalize lah.. in this case, have to see the age, young or slightly older one have to call "Jeh Jeh", only elderly one you can call "Auntie" lah~~ :D

இBananazஇ said...

Somewhere in Singapore இ The Chinese way are more precise and straight away we know roughly how's the relationship.

wenn இ Remember you posted once about your bro-in-law's somebody somebody which is a mouth but that can be cut short if we know the Chinese kinship but nowadays we hardly bother to learn them.

SK இ You ended with 'someone someone someone's..Grandson's wife's mother so most likely 'Auntie' haha.

Leovi said...

Kinship big trouble! It's fun being his own grandfather or the grandson of himself!

MEcoy said...

at first, as i was reading the story i thought it was an intriguing story but then as i read along thing had become more difficult to digest hahaha

Mr Lonely said...

@.@~

cleffairy said...

Too confusing. A chinese myself but I dun bother with the 'pangkat' Just call anyone older than me jie jie, auntie or kor kor and uncle. LOL!

suituapui said...

Wahhhhhh!!!! I love seeing ladies in sarong kebaya - so elegant, classy!!!

suituapui said...

All these names - to show respect - Chinese place a lot of importance on this...and good manners but say by word of mouth only, not from the heart also no use. Give face only! Another thing that the Chinese place a lot of importance on...and after greeting, the kid asks the mum, "Who on earth is that? Why is he so fat and ugly one?" bla...bla...bla...

Rurousha said...

I've read that story three times and I'm still @_@!

I'm glad Afrikaans people have a very simple system: whether you're family or not, if a man is much older he's "oom" (uncle) and a woman is "tannie" (aunt). If somebody is roughly your own age, he's "boet" (brother) and she's "suster" (sister).

Easy.

OK, now let me go read that story *again*. :D

London Caller said...

Ha ha... Inbreeding and incest are a taboo.
But having relationship with step children who are not blood related to you is like a grey area.

Tekkaus said...

Goodness...I can only imagine. Then again, I wish this will never ever happen to me. It will literally screw up my life. LOL :D

reana claire said...

Yes, very complicated.. nowadays children normally do not call all the sok koong.. sok por.. sam sook koong or whatever... they ended calling any elderly people.. Auntie, Uncle and that is it.. hahaha.. simple..

Twilight Man said...

I am amused by silly Rurousha having to read more than 3 times! LOL


When are you posting about DiZang Wang's story? I have been waiting for centuries!

HappySurfer said...

Hilarious story but could be real somewhere in the world. You think?

Thanks for the info from Wikipedia. News to me.

Very cool video. Great reference material too. *Like*

இBananazஇ said...

Leovi இ Grandpa & grandson being himself chances r not that great haha

MEcoy இ Chinese lineages is slowly fading as its difficult to remember and moreover younger generations are getting more Westernised now

suituapui இ Pretty maid eh can spot my daughter Nikki? She is at the extreme right. Oh that is your great grandfather's second son whom you called 'er shugong da' aka STP. Aiyo he where got fat & ugly just slightly round at the middle only ma haha.

இBananazஇ said...

Mr Lonely இ @.@~ haha

cleffairy இ Yeah nowadays kids all short cut calling uncle & aunties

Rurousha இ Three times haha. Hard to figure out but could be possible to be the grandpa himself? Oh that's easy "oom" "tannie" "boet" "suster". Short and sweet.

இBananazஇ said...

London Caller இ Yeah grey area for no blood relationship.

Tekkaus இ Great to see you active again with no internet hiccup. In Chinese think we say its 'mixed messy bones' haha.

reana claire இ True not much of those sok kong, sok pak yi ma ku cheh already

இBananazஇ said...

Twilight Man இ Sorry lah gotta slow slow wait a bit shall post it during ghost month. Lost my draft need one last pixz of DiZangWang from temple. Lolz at your comment on Rurousha three times is OK think Bananaz read more than 5 times haha.

HappySurfer இ Possible since there is blood relationship concerned. Great inspiration for *Like* tQ

foongpc said...

Wah!! So confusing! I'm lost halfway! LOL!!

foongpc said...

I always get confused with the Chinese kinship system! Sometimes I wish it's not so complicated! But then, this system is brilliant as it clearly spells out the relationship between each family member and relatives very clearly.

foongpc said...

Unlike the Westerns which just calls everyone by name, whether he's your father, father's father, mother's father, father's brother, nephew, cousin, half brother, father in law etc. etc.

Merryn said...

Early morning already got confused by this Bananaz.. now my head is spinning and it cant stop >_<

London Caller said...

So that's good lah.
Their offspring are free from genetic disorder.
Can breed more like normal people and create more troubles? :)

rainfield61 said...

This is the complexity of our culture.

But most of us tend to simplify this, we greet the senior uncle and untie.

Leovi said...

Yes I marry a Chinese have to learn, but for now do not know any Chinese!

Leovi said...

Yes, In Spain when a something is complicated say this phrase: "This is a work of Chinese".

Fay Jesselton said...

Walaoweeeehhhh!!! It's make my brain turning 360 deg.. hahahaahaha..

Daisy said...

Haha! I got lost in that first story, Bananaz!! :D

Leovi said...

Wait to August 7 to see the Chinese ghost!

Amelia said...

Hi Bananaz, thanks for sharing the joke... this sound like a real family problem. :)

I'm quite confusing with all this uncle and auntie, father and mother side... LOL And now the new generation most of the English educated ones... address uncle xxx and auntie xxx, kow tim. But actually not a very good ideas, the future generation will forgot all about the traditional kinship.

Have a nice day.

Small Kucing said...

very de kon-fius.

இBananazஇ said...

foongpc இ Most bananaz would be almost like gwailo sure to get confused haha

Merryn இ Another confused bananaz hehe

London Caller இ Divorce cases has been on the increase rapidly

இBananazஇ said...

rainfield61 இ People always want to have and easy way out

Leovi இ Oh yeah Chinese tend to confuse people? Hm learned something today.

Fay Jesselton இ tQ for dropping by and sorry gotcha confused and spinning haha

இBananazஇ said...

Daisy இ As our blogger friend Leovi said "This is a work of Chinese" too complicated lolz

Leovi இ Hellgate would be opened by then watch out haha.

Amelia இ Sad its slowly diminishing at a fast rate

Small Kucing இ Ooops very de kon-fius haha. If you are Chinese educated you may know the kinship's difference

Leovi said...

Beautiful song, "Soft as the voice of an angel" in the voice of Mary Duff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frW4M99AzLs

இBananazஇ said...

Leovi இ Nice soft angelic voice of Mary Duff

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Bananaz, ha ha ha, I love this posting, made me lintang pukang thinking over it.
And yes, Chinese have their very old family traditions.
Where I am we quite often get to read about this mabuk otak cheritas.....

Had a case once father marries 2nd wife. Has a child. He dies of cancer later, then son marries the young stepmother. And also gets a child. Ha ha ha. Very confusing who is what.
Have a nice day, keep well.
Lee.

London Caller said...

Ha ha... of course no Bondi girls in bikini lah.
Cannot strain you eyes too much mah.

Leovi said...

Thank you very much friend!

Quay Po Cooks said...

My family is very small so no confusion. Better still now I married to a Quay Lo, we call each other by names on his side. Arthur is right, no point placing such importance on the ranking if it is not genuine respect. Mouth said only no feel from the heart.

Leovi said...

Yes, summer is very hot in Spain!!

Pete said...

I confused liao....think too much tonight after kenot sleep....lol

HappySurfer said...

Happy holiday, Bananaz.

lronglim said...

This is so hilarious... had me laughing, roaring out with glee...

இBananazஇ said...

Hi Lee இ Yeah sometimes we lost touch of who is what and in future the new generation would just use 'Uncle & Auntie' to represent all.

London Caller இ Had my very first very fresh raw fish in Bondi and it was love at first bite.

Leovi இ That's what friends are for haha

இBananazஇ said...

Quay Po Cooks இ In future uncle & auntie would be the only two relatives left haha.

Leovi இ Hot & sweaty haha

Pete இ Hope you do not have any night mares calling our names of your distant relatives haha

இBananazஇ said...

HappySurfer இ Happy Holidays and its almost over now haha

lronglim இ Glad it tickled your funny bone lolz.

HappySurfer said...

Hello Bananaz, the week is almost over. Yay! :D

Leovi said...

Yes, it is good to grow flowers on the volcano!

Elliot MacLeod-Michael said...

My head just exploded into candy trying to comprehend the familial ties.

Fay Jesselton said...

The 3rd time, no blog update and I try to read again.. still so confused bahahahaahahahaha .. btw, why you no update blog?

HappySurfer said...

Happy Hump Day. :)

HappySurfer said...

Hello Bananaz, happy weekend and happy Merdeka Day!

Fay Jesselton said...

Happy Merdeka Day! I'm going for teh tarik and fried banana today LOL

Leovi said...

Madness can be beautiful, but not recommended!

Leovi said...

Madness can be beautiful, but not recommended!

HappySurfer said...

Hi Bananaz, hope the weather in your part of the world is as nice and cool as mine. :)

HappySurfer said...

Pun of the Day:

"The cost of the space program is astronomical."

Duh!

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

Oh my! The story of family problem was really complicated and confusing. But guess what? It happened in real life. Some of my friends have almost the same problems.

Willie a.k.a Reptoz said...

This afternoon, I saw a young woman and an old man. They were hugging each other at the dinning table. I was confused of their relationship. Were they daughter and father or husband and wife.

They look so attracted to each other.When the lady noticed I was looking at them, she showed me a pissed off face. Hahahaha! What do you think Mr. Bananaz?

Mr Lonely said...

Wish you have a happy weekend~

HappySurfer said...

Happy (longer-than-usual) weekend, Bananaz!

இBananazஇ said...

HappySurfer இ cool have a long weekend.

Elliot MacLeod-Michael இ Hope head is OK now haha

Fay Jesselton இ Happy Merdeka & now Happy Malaysia Day

இBananazஇ said...

Willie a.k.a Reptoz இ Father daughter possible, father girlfriend more likely haha

My Lonely இ You too have a great long weekend

HappySurfer இ Happy Merdeka, Malaysia Day sama sama long weekend.

Auto Repair in South Jordan UT said...

Great read, interesting perspective!

 
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