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Artistgirl
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Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« on: January 21, 2010, 10:13:38 PM »

I want our son to call his Taiwanese grandmother "grandma" in Chinese, but I have seen it as both Nai Nai and Nie Nie. Which is the more common term and what is the correct pronunciation? Thanks.
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elemomma
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 10:23:17 PM »

There are two different terms for grandmother because one represents the maternal grandparents, and the other represents the paternal grandparents.  I don't know which one is which, but I remember buying a charm for my mom that said grandmother, and our guide looked at it and I had to go exchange it because I had gotten the one for paternal grandmother. 

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daisydoodle
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 10:25:16 PM »

Nai Nai is for paternal grandmother.  I know this because my daughter calls my mom Nai Nai and it's backwards.
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PattyP
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 08:45:54 AM »

Nai nai =paternal grandma  lao lao = maternal grandma (I think...!)
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bloomer
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 11:23:16 AM »

PattyP - that's the way I understand it too.  Nai Nai is pronounced Nie Nie and Lao Lao is just as it looks.  My kids call my mother La La because of how they pronounced it as babies and it stuck.  My mom loves being La La... but she's so crazy about our kids she'd be happy being called anything by them.  Laugh

I know there are a couple of other names as well, one I think is Po Po and it is also used for maternal grandmothers.  Sorry, I don't know the difference between Po Po and Lao Lao, maybe it differs by parts of the country.

Bloomer
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2010, 12:20:54 PM »

That's nai3 nai3 (third tone) for father's mother and lao3 lao3 (also third tone) for mother's mother.

Nai for English speaking will sounds like n - i. The "i" as in "I am not good in Chinese".  
Lao, well I think it's the same in English.

The tone is always important though.

Parental vocabulary is pretty hard to learn even for Chinese people. I've found this site to help: http://www.kwanfamily.info/familytitles/familytitle.html

I am pretty sure you can find a site where you'll actually hear the words.

 Dancing Panda
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Cellule
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noahs-mom
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2010, 12:54:11 PM »

Our son referred to his foster mother as Waipo. He actually called her Po Po. Our guide told us this means Grandma. 
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cellule
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2010, 01:33:01 PM »

Our son referred to his foster mother as Waipo. He actually called her Po Po. Our guide told us this means Grandma.  

Wai4po2 and po2po2 are also two other words for Grandma (mother's mother)!  Happy
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Cellule
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Artistgirl
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2010, 01:57:26 PM »

Thanks! Nai Nai is correct since it is my husband's mom. I just didn't realize the pronunciation since I only know about 3 words in Chinese.
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sweet petunia
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2010, 02:49:13 PM »

Sounds like there are different words for the same person.  Are some more "affectionate" terms and others more formal?  For example, Grandma, Gram, or Nana in English are considered more informal or more affectionate than the more formal "Grandmother."
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cellule
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2010, 03:30:40 PM »

There are also formal words. For Grandmother it's zu3 mu3 (father's mother).
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Cellule
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2010, 06:11:29 PM »

My husband is Chinese-American (learned English when he was 6yrs old), and he doesn't use the paternal and maternal differences.  I think it's like sweet said, there are lots of different names that you could use.   
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ChocolateChips
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2010, 12:05:59 AM »

Is Po Po Cantonese for Grandma, and Nai Nai and Lao Lao Mandarin for Grandma?  Some family friends of ours speak Cantonese and they say Po Po for Grandma and Kun Kun for Grandpa.  Nji?   
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ldw4mlo
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2010, 01:32:12 PM »

Some of it is Cantonese vs Mandarin. Some is regional as well. Hong Kong vs Beijing vs Tawain etc..................

For my dad we call him grandpa gong gong. More formal would be wai gong. Shortened to gong gong as a sign of affection, lots of words for both.

I like this site for hearing the words................... ..

http://www.instantspeakchinese.com/dictionary/compound.cfm?from=1&searchType=3&english=grandmother&CFID=22701867&CFTOKEN=28665002

http://www.instantspeakchinese.com/dictionary/compound.cfm?from=1&searchType=3&english=grandfather&CFID=22701867&CFTOKEN=28665002
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cellule
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2010, 01:52:46 PM »

Is Po Po Cantonese for Grandma, and Nai Nai and Lao Lao Mandarin for Grandma?  Some family friends of ours speak Cantonese and they say Po Po for Grandma and Kun Kun for Grandpa.  Nji?   

Po po is used in Mandarin and Cantonese... but does not sound the same. And, as ldw4mio said, there are a lot of differences depending of where you live. Even in continental China, there are hundreds of dialects!
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Cellule
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2010, 05:48:05 PM »

Is Po Po Cantonese for Grandma, and Nai Nai and Lao Lao Mandarin for Grandma?  Some family friends of ours speak Cantonese and they say Po Po for Grandma and Kun Kun for Grandpa.  Nji?   

Po po is used in Mandarin and Cantonese... but does not sound the same. And, as ldw4mio said, there are a lot of differences depending of where you live. Even in continental China, there are hundreds of dialects!


Oh cool!  Thanks for the clarification. . . this is something that I've been wondering about for awhile!   
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laranou
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Re: Nai nai or Nie Nie?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2010, 12:36:01 PM »

Just to add to more confusion...

Our daughter, adopted one year ago at age six, uses nai-nai and ye-ye to also refer to older adults in general, even while we were in China.  If a graying store clerk was wooed by her cuteness and gave her gifts, they were instantly nai-nai.

My oldest son has been studying Mandarin in high school, and we ran into the great debate over the proper term for maternal grandmother.  Research I have done, points to the differences being regionally based - wai-po or po-po versus lao-lao as a southern vs. northern tendency. 

At home, with all the steps and remarriages after death or divorce in our families we just simplified and called everybody nai-nai and ye-ye initially.  When she asked about the relationships, we explained as best we could - babade baba or mamade baba.

Laranou
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