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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Research => Topic started by: J-Bert on July 16, 2014, 11:29 AM

Title: Help with Cantonese?
Post by: J-Bert on July 16, 2014, 11:29 AM

I have a secondary character who is a 4th-generation Chinese-American living in San Francisco. I want him to greet his great-grandmother in Cantonese, but I'm having trouble finding the term that he would use for his mother's mother's mother. has "taai3 po4" listed but that's 1. for a mother's FATHER'S mother, which I could make work but wasn't what I had in mind and 2. Doesn't make sense to me in how I would use it. Would I write,

"Nei hou, taai po," James said, crossing the room to give the woman a sideways hug. "My great-grandmother," he explained to Emily.

If that's correct, I wonder if it's too much for some readers. Would he just say, "Nei hou" or is that rude to greet a great-grandmother so casually?
Title: Re: Help with Cantonese?
Post by: L Swanson on July 16, 2014, 01:01 PM
Hi Jenn,

If you don't get an answer on these boards, I recommend creating a free Lang-8 account ( ( and asking your question there. Lang-8 is a website where you can ask a language question or post a piece of writing in a target language and native speakers respond with answers and corrections. I haven't used it for about a year, but I used to use it all the time for corrections on written Spanish and Mandarin and it was wonderful and very easy to use. Then you can "pay it forward" by responding to a question about a language you know  :-)  (It's actually a little bit addictive.)

Hope that helps!