polite ways to address adults

Discussions on the Cantonese language.
Pepsi24601

polite ways to address adults

Postby Pepsi24601 » Thu Jan 22, 2004 5:15 am

i'd like to know how to address friends of my parents (ranging from 10 years older than me= 30 to older than my parents = 50) in a polite but friendly way. my parents are very ambiguous about telling me the proper ways. Also in sitcoms, I notice that girls address their boyfriend's mother as "bat mo" and that boys address their girlfriend's mother as "bat mo". Is that correct? What is the equivalent for a bf's/gf's father?

Dylan Sung

Re: polite ways to address adults

Postby Dylan Sung » Thu Jan 22, 2004 7:56 am

I think that should be "bak-mo". I think terms of address especially polite ones are all relative to one's age, and one's parent's age. Unless they're close kin, in which you know what generation gap lies between the two of you, you'd address them in some word resembling, "uncle" and "auntie" and this is suitable for close friends too.

I don't know if you visit restaurants or not, but in HK, if there is a lady serving and you don't know her name, most folks just call her "a-jeh" older sister. Cantonese isn't my own mother tongue, and this struck me as interesting.

Dyl.

mun

Re: polite ways to address adults

Postby mun » Fri Jan 23, 2004 2:56 am

Dyl.. would it be advisable to address older people in this manner:

(surname said here) sin sarng = Mr. (surname goes here)
(surname said here) taai taai = Mrs. (surname goes here)

eg.

wong sin sarng, nei hou
wong taai taai, nei hou

"wong" being surname of persons

Dylan Sung

Re: polite ways to address adults

Postby Dylan Sung » Fri Jan 23, 2004 9:22 am

That is more formal, but if you begin with that, they can tell you what is more appropriate.

Beware though, if they're relatives and you use their surname followed by sin-saang or -taai-taai, it could indicate that you have some level of hostility against them. In which case you apologise for not knowing better, and they will draw the conclusion that your parent have failed to instruct you on manners, which will also reflect badly on you!

Dyl.

Mirror

Re: polite ways to address adults

Postby Mirror » Wed May 12, 2004 1:16 am

Pepsi,
For Cantonese people, especially very superstitious, please call your so-call "bat mo" to "bat yau". Because "mo" meaning mother here sounds exactly the same as "nothing" and "bat" meaing sounds like "hundreds". I.e. calling an auntie into "don't have hundreds of things"
For uncle, "Sai Baak", "sai" means the world or a century, "baak" means "uncle". I.e. "an experienced man"
If you want to pay some lip-service, heehee, call females between 30-40 "ah-yee", that's a younger auntie not married yet.


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