How to properly address other people in Chinese Culture

How to properly address other people in Chinese Culture

Most textbooks introduce some ways to address people in Chinese. This infographic will cover many valuable tips when it comes to how people in China actually address each other.

There are 4 different settings where people find themselves, such as “in a general setting”, “in a school setting”, “in a work setting” and “others.” Each setting may require different ways to address people.

In a General Setting

If your age is between teenage and to young adult

  • 宝宝 bǎobao baby

    An appropriate way to comment on someone’s infant or toddler (ranging in age from newborn up to two years old) would be to call him or her “宝宝 bǎobao”

    你的宝宝真可爱。 Nǐ de bǎobǎo zhēn kě’ài. (Your baby are so adorable.)


  • 小朋友 xiǎo péngyǒu Little friend, little buddy

    When addressing a child (ranging in age from toddler to preteen), a nice conversation starter would be : “小朋友” or “小弟弟, xiǎo dìdi, little brother” or “小妹妹, xiǎo mèimei, little sister.”  



    Xiǎopéngyǒu, nǐ jīnnián jǐ suì?

    (Little friend, how old are you?)

  • 名字 míngzì name

    If the person you’re addressing is around your age, calling them by their name is fine. Although if you don’t know it, you can start the conversation with “你好, nǐ hǎo, hello” or “对不起, duìbùqǐ, excuse me”


    Duìbùqǐ, qǐngwèn nǐ nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?

    (Excuse me, may I ask what your name is?)

  • 叔叔 shūshu uncle, 阿姨 ā yí aunt

    When you address a man or woman who is in their forties or older, you can start the conversation with:  “叔叔” if he is a man, or “阿姨 ” if she is a woman.


    Āyí, qǐngwèn zhōngshān lù zěnme zǒu?

    (Aunt, may I ask how to get to Zhongshan Rd.? )

  • 老爷爷 lǎo yéye grandpa

    老奶奶 lǎonǎinai grandma

    When you address a man or woman who is sixty or older, you can start the conversation with: “老爷爷” if he is a man, or “老奶奶” if she is a woman.


    Lǎo yéyé, nǐ xūyào bāngmáng ma?

    (Grandpa, do you need help?)

Simplified Chinese Version


Check out this amazing video made by Carol from

Voice over: Carol


Traditional Chinese Version

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