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I have been going to a Chinese restaurant a lot lately, and the owner is a very friendly little old Chinese lady. Should I call her 小老婆 or 小老太? Is it rude to call her 小?

Also, I think Chinese are confusing about their wives and mothers in general. For example, In Japanese, 娘 means young girl, but in Chinese 娘 means mother. 花姑娘 is actually young girl in Chinese. How come flowery-auntie-mother suddenly became a young girl??? Strange!!

Also,what is the difference between 小姐子 and 大妹子? Who is older?

Last but not least, I know 太太 means wife,and 婆婆 means old lady, but I believe 老婆 also can be referred to wife. So old-old lady suddenly become your wife?? So weird!!! There is yet another confusing term: 老太婆。 Does 老太婆 mean wife or old lady?

  • see dictionaries, e.g.小老婆 bkrs:concubine mistress(dialect) woman 小老太 not a word, jukuu has no entry for it, indicating extremely rare for this combination, 娘:I n.ma; mum; mother II b.f.(bound form) 1) elderly married woman (大娘) 2) young woman (姑娘) for 花姑娘 see 姑娘 which is very common for girl young woman young lady daughter paternal aunt (old),1) 小姐子,姐子 neither a common word 小姐 Miss 2) young lady 3) coll. prostitute; call girl 大妹子 (younger) sister (see 姐姐,妹妹)老婆 common word for wife (cf. 丈夫 husband)老太婆 old woman – user6065 Jun 3 '17 at 20:41
  • "Is it rude to call her 小?" -YES! – Tang Ho Jun 4 '17 at 2:59
  • Haahaha, This question made me giggle, not because of the question but the way you are going to address her. 小老婆 basically means concubine, very low status for a woman in the Chinese culture. 小老太 is weird as well, no one uses that, but as a comparison 老太婆 or 老太太 addresses a woman as too old, no one wants to hear that, you get the idea. And no...奶奶 doesn't mean double boobs, it depends on the situation, if you are getting flirty with a girl, then yes it means boobs, but we usually say 咪咪.... 奶奶/婆婆 are both respectable way to address an elderly woman who's your grandma's age. – Mindless Jun 6 '17 at 3:39
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  1. Should I call her 小老婆 or 小老太? Is it rude to call her 小?

Don't use either of the two expressions to address ladies. 小老婆 means concubine. As for 老太, ladies' reactions towards that expression vary. Some ladies may feel insulted and others complimented. 小老太 is rather strange to me, although it might be used by areas I'm not native to.

  1. How come flowery-auntie-mother suddenly became a young girl??? Strange!!

Do not use 花姑娘 either. It is almost only portrayed as an expression used by Japanese invaders to refer to girls they wanted to insult.

  1. what is the difference between 小姐子 and 大妹子? Who is older?

I don't think the expression 小姐子 exists. 大妹子 is quite similar to "sister" used by black females to talk to or about each other.

  1. So old-old lady suddenly become your wife??

It does not happen suddenly. 老婆 used to have meanings of both old ladies and one's wife but now the latter prevails.

  1. Does 老太婆 mean wife or old lady?

Both. But it is offensive to call an old lady 老太婆 if you two are not close.

So, just call her 婆婆 or 奶奶. I have not seen an old friendly Chinese lady who does not like these two titles.

  • 奶奶 = double boobs?? 奶奶 can be rude too? Because I remember asking a Chinese girl if I can see her 奶奶, and she got mad. I think 奶奶 is grandma. And why not just call 婆, instead of 婆婆? I believe 婆婆 is for daughter in-law to call her mother in-law in some tv series from China. I think I just not calling anyone anything for my own safety. – Atmega 328 Jun 4 '17 at 7:28
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    1. 奶奶 = double boobs?? 奶奶 can be rude too? Funny though it may sound, 奶奶 can mean boobs under certain circumstances. But I guess if you don't point at a girl's breasts when saying you want her to introduce you to her Granny, she would not go nuts. Anyway, the predominant meaning of 奶奶 is a granny. 2. And why not just call 婆, instead of 婆婆? Because Chinese are obsessed with reiterative words like 哥哥、姐姐、妈妈、爸爸、婆婆、奶奶 etc. 3. I believe 婆婆 is for daughter in-law to call her mother in-law... 婆婆 and 奶奶 can be used to address old ladies, whether they are related to you or not. – Barry Jun 5 '17 at 6:28

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