Mandarin dictionary updates denotation of grandparents

  • By Wu Po-hsuan and Jake Chung/staff reporter, with a staff writer

The Ministry of Education has added a footnote to the abridged version of its Mandarin dictionary stating that the terms for maternal grandparents have the same meaning as those for paternal grandparents.

A paternal grandfather is called zufu (祖父) and a paternal grandmother is called zumu (祖母) in Mandarin, or gong (阿公) and a-ma (阿嬤) respectively in Hoklo (commonly called Taiwanese).

Maternal grandparents are commonly referred to as wai zufu (外祖父) and wai zumu (外祖母) in Mandarin.

Photo: Rachel Lin, Taipei Times

The abbreviated version of Ministry of Education Mandarin Chinese Dictionary is mainly used for primary education, allowing students to learn the meaning of sentences and contemporary definition, said Lin Ching-lung (林慶隆), director of the Research Center for Translation, Compilation and Teaching of Languages ​​from the National Academy of Educational Research. Friday.

The center decided to include the footnote due to gender equality concerns, Lin said, adding that wai (外) is no longer used in legal matters.

In the Chinese language, a distinction is usually made using the terms no (內, interior) to designate the paternal side of the family and wai (外, exterior) for the maternal side.

However, nowadays families are more likely to call grandparents from both sides of the family. zufu and zumuLin said, adding that the footnote was added to reflect contemporary usage.

However, this does not mean that the terms wai zufu and wai zumuWhere wai gong (外公, maternal grandfather) and waipo (外婆, maternal grandmother) no longer exist or have been abandoned, he said.

The changes were made after discussions with experts and the Legislative Yuan’s Gender Equality Committee, Lin said, adding that the center must review the dictionary three months for phrases or words that may need to be updated. be clarified.

Anyone who has questions about dictionary definitions can submit the issue to the academy, he said.

The academy will review the request and convene a panel of experts to discuss the matter, allowing the dictionary to be as up-to-date as possible, he said.

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