Can we call someone X太太 ? or is it the calling of husband to his wife? In my textbook everybody calls one women 錢太太. But my teacher said it is unsuitable. Which one is correct?
I am a native speaker born and living in northern China. In my experience of life, calling someone X太太 only appears in some old literatures (or maybe I am just too young and naive :) ).
There are many differences in the calling conventions of one's wife in China. As far as I know, people tend to say “我媳妇” in northern China while “我老婆” in southern China (both are called only by the husband or very good friends). They are not Honorifics.
If you meet a couple for the first time, you can say 嫂子 in northern China.
If you meet a stranger, you can say X女士. This is also can be used in written language.
If you a among young people, never say X太太 or 太太. This makes others think you are too old-fashioned.
Actually, the husband may call his wife 太太 but not with the surname.
As you are not the husband of this lady, you can call her surname + 太太. Even you can use 这位太太 (this lady) but never use 太太 lonely, or you may be get beaten from her husband lol.
But using surname + 太太 is not so good in Chinese culture because the lady will NOT change the surname after marriage. It's complicated to choose the right surname before 太太, from her original one, or her husband's.