joye the obscured (dustthouart) wrote in linguaphiles,
joye the obscured
dustthouart
linguaphiles

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generic terms of address for children

In English, if you need to address a child that you don't know the name of, most commonly you use some kind of mild endearment ("buddy" and "sweetie" seeming to be the main choices that I hear; "kid" is a little less polite, but not necessarily nasty). There isn't any real standard term, though, and if you're addressing a group of children, there's no term (other than "children" or "kids") that I know.

In Mandarin, 小朋友 xiao3 peng2you3 (literally "little friend") is the standard address for a child you don't know (and even can be used with ones you do know, especially groups of children). 小妹妹 xiao3 mei4mei4 and 小弟弟 xiao3 di4di4 ("little little sister" and "little little brother" respectively) can be used with individual children of the respective genders. Specifically for babies, I usually hear 小baby (xiao3 baby, sometimes written as 小BB). I don't know of any terms that are not friendly; I haven't been exposed to any.

What are the terms used in your area/language? Does it depend on the age of the child (baby/toddler/young child/older child/teen)? Polite and less polite terms?
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  • The Australian Vernacular... Mate

    Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base…

  • translations of the Bhagavad Gita

    An old friend was talking with C and me lately, and she expressed an interest in learning more about the ideas behind yoga, and particularly about…

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    When you can use a German-derived term that Germans speakers themselves probably don't use