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about the Chinese word 'aunt'

From:Cheng Zhong Su <suchengzhong@...>
Date:Saturday, December 15, 2001, 22:13
As I have said, In Chinese language,  ‘jie’=older
sister; ‘mei’=younger sister, and ‘jie mei’=sister.
Some one asked that the word ‘aunt’ at least include
four peoples; father’s sister, mother’s sister,
father’s brother’s wife, and mother’s brother’s wife.
So what will be a Chinese word for ‘aunt’? Isn’t it
need four words (or characters) to express the meaning
of ‘aunt’? My answer is that in fact the Chinese
language didn’t have a right word for ‘aunt’. For
during the history, they didn’t use such a word. Yet
in recent time, people in south east China, sometimes
don’t want other’s know the detail of what
relationship of that person. When they only want
express a person of his father’s generation, he just
borrows an English word ‘uncle’. I believe, it would
be like many other borrowed words, soon or later split
into two words (or characters) ‘un’ and ‘kao’. The
reason of change ‘cle’ into ‘kao’ is in current
mandarin, they don’t allow two consonant come
together. After this arrangement, both ‘un’ and ‘kao’
will automatically have the meaning of uncle
separately; the reason to put them together is that as
some linguists point out, all language’s speaker like
two syllables sounds. But you may see in Chinese
language there is a dozen names for ‘uncle’, and it
could be separated into dozens groups. For instance,
from 12 elements we take 3 for group every time we may
have, 12×11×10/(3×2×1)=220 groups. In that case,
Chinese people will use one of the ‘un’ and ‘kao’ to
indicate a male person of father’s generation, and put
‘un’ or ‘kao’ to indicate the group. For instance, I
have said Chinese like put ‘tang’ in front for
father’s side, and ‘biao’ in front of mother’s side.
So the word ‘tangun’ means a person of father’s
generation from father’s side. While the ‘biaoun’
means a person of father’s generation from mother’s
side. You may notice, they only use ‘un’ not  ‘kao’,
the reason is they always take the first syllable,
until one day they can’t. I have said, four to five
thousands characters sharing 1200 ‘phonetic types’, it
would be four characters sharing one ‘phonetic type’.
So if by coincidence another group have the same
‘phonetic type’ with an old group. Then the ‘kao’
would be put in use. For instance we have Aun, Bun,
Cun, Dun and Eun, one day we need another group, it
has the same ‘phonetic type’ with Aun, then they use
Akao instead Aun for distinction.
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