"Aunt"

May. 31st, 2016 03:29 pm
[personal profile] asterroc
So I use both the English (American) term "aunt" and the Shanghainese/Mandarin Chinese term "ayi" or "aiyee" for not only a parent's sister, but basically any woman of my parents' generation who is either a blood or marriage relative, or a close family friend. For example, my mother's cousin is my aunt, I don't actually know how Aunt Lee is related to me, and Y*** Aiee is my childhood best friend's mother.

I'm curious how widespread this is. At first I thought it was just a Chinese thing, but then I remembered Aunt Lee (from my father's side). Do other people use Aunt and Uncle this way, or is it just my family?

Date: 2016-06-05 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] devjoe.livejournal.com
It's definitely the case, in at least some American families who have no Chinese ancestry whatsoever, that Aunt and Uncle are sometimes used to refer family members of distant or uncertain relation and close family friends of no relation whatsoever, especially ones who are around frequently. Likewise for Cousin, or even Brother/Sister if the bond is stronger, for people of one's own generation.

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