Chinese Genealogical Word List

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

This list contains Chinese words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Chinese-English (漢英; hàn yīng) or English-Chinese (英漢; yīng hàn) dictionary. (Also, see the “Additional Resources” section, below.)

Chinese is a Sino-Tibetan language with the unique characteristic of having a character-based and non-phonetic writing system. Over one billion people across the globe speak Chinese in some form, with the predominant dialect being Mandarin (普通話/國語; pǔ tōng huà/guó yǔ), which is the official dialect spoken in China and Taiwan. Other dialects - including but not limited to Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Fukienese (Fujianese) - are largely mutually unintelligible to each other.

Despite significant differences in the many spoken dialects of Chinese, standard written Chinese - based off the Mandarin dialect - is universally accepted and the officially sanctioned form of written Chinese and is used throughout China, Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora for official documents, news/media, and other communications. Uniquely, a speaker of one dialect may be unable to communicate orally with the speaker of another dialect, but, assuming they are both literate, they could write to each other in standard written Chinese and fully understand each other.

Chinese is spoken in China and Taiwan - where it is considered the official language - as well as among large populations of Chinese living across the globe, particularly in Southeast Asia, but also Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East. Because one of the most common Chinese genealogical records is clan genealogies (族譜/家譜; zú pǔ/jiā pǔ), Chinese genealogical records could potentially be found on any continent and any country with large Chinese populations.

Written Chinese[edit | edit source]

There are currently two forms of written Chinese characters: 1) Traditional characters (繁體字; fán tǐ zì), used officially in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore (one of four official languages); 2) Simplified characters (簡體字; jiǎn tǐ zì), used officially in China. Within the Chinese diaspora across the globe, the usage of traditional versus simplified characters can vary widely. Early overseas Chinese populations from the 19th and early 20th centuries as well as those from Hong Kong and Taiwan have consistently used traditional characters, whereas emigrants from China predominantly prefer the use of simplified characters. Because simplified Chinese characters have had official sanction since 1954 (the year in which the government of the People’s Republic of China implemented simplified characters to increase literacy), the large majority of Chinese genealogical records are likely to be in traditional Chinese, as this was the standard for Chinese records comprising centuries of Chinese history up until 1954. Due to the relative newness of simplified characters, the characters in this word list are in traditional form, as this is the form most commonly encountered in genealogical records. A tool for converting traditional characters to simplified characters can be found here.

Traditionally, Chinese text was written in vertical columns with characters in each column written from top to bottom and columns starting on the right side of each page and going left.[1] Most genealogical records will have a similar layout, which means the title and cover pages for such records will be in the final pages, rather than what we normally think of as the first pages in the Western sense. In modern times the Western layout of writing characters horizontally from left to right has also been adopted to a degree, but this format is uncommon in earlier records.

Radicals[edit | edit source]

Although Chinese characters are not phonetic in nature, each character contains one or more radicals (部首; bù shǒu) that form the structure of individual Chinese characters, which can number in the tens of thousands, although an educated speaker need only learn approximately 2500 characters.[2] The most commonly accepted table of radicals contains 214 radicals. An example of a Chinese radical chart containing these 214 radicals can be found here.

Radicals are further divided according to the number of strokes each has, with a range from 1-17 strokes (an example of radicals organized by numbers of strokes can be found here). In traditional Chinese dictionaries, characters are looked up by stroke order, starting with the primary radical. For instance, the character 中 (zhōng), which means “center,” is composed of the primary one-stroke radical丨(gǔn) and contains the secondary three-stroke radical 口 (kǒu). Another character, 好 (hǎo), meaning “good,” contains the three-stroke radical 女 (nǚ), meaning “female,” and the three-stroke radical 子 (zǐ), meaning “child.” More complex characters may contain multiple radicals. For instance, the character 簡 (jiǎn), meaning “simple,” contains the radical 竹 (zhú), under which is placed the radical 門 (mén), meaning “door,” and below that the radical 曰 (yuē), meaning “to say.” In none of these cases, however, does the pronunciation of the radicals correspond to the actual pronunciation of the character.

For someone seeking a basic understanding of Chinese writing sufficient to decipher characters identified in genealogical records, a foundation in both the stroke order and radical-based formation of characters is particularly helpful. Such is especially the case in deciphering names of ancestors from hardcopy records, digital images, microfilm and so forth that does not allow the characters to be merely copied and pasted into an online transliteration program (e.g. Google Translate, for one).

Romanization[edit | edit source]

As stated above, written Chinese is not phonetic. In other words, specific phonemes, letters or sounds typically cannot be derived from simply looking at a Chinese character. Traditionally in China, knowing how a specific character was pronounced was largely only achieved by memorization. Romanization - namely, the process of transcribing or transliterating a language into Latin script[3] - was first applied to the Chinese language by Christian missionaries working in China during the 16th century.[4] One of the most widely used Chinese romanization systems developed in the late 19th century is the Wade-Giles system, which was the standard of transcription for the English-speaking world for most of the 20th century.[5] In 1956, just two years after the implementation of simplified characters, the government of the People’s Republic of China introduced the hanyu pinyin (漢語拼音hàn yǔ pīn yīn) romanization system in an additional effort to boost literacy. Pinyin later became the standard romanization for China, and more recently for Taiwan and Singapore.[6]

Although the use of pinyin is becoming increasingly the standard for native and non-native Chinese speakers, the Wade-Giles and other romanization systems are still commonly found in history books, atlases, maps and other reference materials. Learning to differentiate the multiple systems can be helpful not only in research but also in the proper indexing of names for genealogical purposes. For instance, place names like Peking and Peiching all correspond to the characters 北京, which are now more commonly romanized in pinyin as the more familiar Beijing (běi jīng). Romanization issues can also occur when researching or documenting proper names, e.g. Chinese surnames transliterated in Wade-Giles as Hsieh (謝), Chao (趙), Kuo (郭) and Chang (張) are transliterated in pinyin as Xie, Zhao, Guo and Zhang, respectively. This is further compounded when dealing with romanization of Cantonese names, as is common practice in Hong Kong, where these same four surnames may be transliterated as Tse, Chiu, Kwok and Cheung, respectively. A basic familiarity with the various romanization systems for Chinese is a critical component of doing genealogical research for Chinese names. Lacking such knowledge, a genealogist may erroneously create duplicate records for the same individual whose name has been romanized using another system or fail to recognize a match for an ancestor whose name was romanized differently.

Because Chinese is a tonal language, romanization systems have also incorporated diacritic marks or spellings to account for each separate tone. Mandarin has four tones, which are represented by four different diacritic marks: ͞ (high), / (high rising), ˅ (low rising), and \ (falling). Here are some examples of the application of these diacritic marks in pinyin for the following words: Beijing (北京; běi jīng), China (中國; zhōng guó), husband (丈夫; zhàng fū), and so forth. When recording Chinese names from genealogical records, these diacritic marks are not necessary as they only correspond to the spoken language. Additional information regarding Mandarin tones can be found here. Tones for any of the Chinese characters found in this Glossary can be obtained by copying the characters into Google Translate.

Gender[edit | edit source]

The Chinese language is largely gender-neutral and possesses few linguistic gender markers.[7] Unlike Romantic languages, such as Spanish, Italian, and French, nouns are not gender-specific. For instance, the feminine la familia (the family) or the masculine el libro (the book) in Spanish would be rendered in Chinese as the gender-neutral 家 (jiā) for family and 書 (shū) for book. To make specific gender denotation for a noun in Chinese, one may add either 男 (nán - male) or 女 (nǚ - female) at the beginning of the word (e.g. the word for doctor (醫生; yī shēng) could be changed to女醫生 to denote a female doctor), although the common practice generally is to use the gender-neutral form. One of the few instances where gender is denoted in Chinese is the written form of the third-person pronoun 他 (tā). Traditionally, 他was used to represent both he and she, but a relatively new character, 她, is now more commonly used for “she,” with the addition of the female character, 女 (rather than 人 (rén), for “person”), as the initial radical. This differentiation between 他and 她is only applied in written Chinese; in spoken Chinese, 他and 她are both pronounced identically as “tā.”

Due to its late emergence into written Chinese, the third-person female pronoun 她is unlikely to appear in the text of historic genealogical records. One way to identify whether an individual is male or female is to look for the female radical 女 (nǚ) in the given name, but it should be noted that not all female names contain 女, and there are some male names that may also contain the 女 radical. In Chinese genealogical records, female names are often not fully recorded,[8] but are typically recorded only as the surname followed by the character 氏 (shì), a character which can roughly be translated as “clan,” “surname,” or “maiden name.” Therefore, a record with an individual named 陳氏 (chén shì) would refer to a woman from the Chen (陳) clan or could also be translated as “Ms. Chen,” with Chen being her maiden name.

Plurals[edit | edit source]

Chinese in general does not have a plural form. The one consistent designation of the plural occurs with pronouns by means of adding the character 們 (men) to singular pronouns to make them plural pronouns as follows:

Singular Pronoun English Plural Pronoun w/ 們 English
我 (wǒ) I/me 我們 (wǒ men) We
你 (nǐ) You 你們 (nǐ men) You (plural)
他 (tā) He/him 他們 (tā men) They/them
她 (tā) She/her 她們 (tā men) They/them (fem.)

The character們 can also be used to make a noun plural, similar to a final “s” for countable regular nouns in English, but this generally only applies to human nouns in Chinese.[9] For instance, the word 同學 (classmate; tóng xué) can become 同學們 (classmates; tóng xué men), 同事 (colleague; tóng shì) becomes 同事們 (colleagues; tóng shì men), 女士 (lady; nǚ shì) becomes 女士們 (ladies; nǚ shì men), and so forth.

Beyond the occasional use of 們, the plural in Chinese is generally either inferred from context or designated by the placement of a number.[10] When quantifying a noun in Chinese, classifiers are placed between the number and the noun, similar to the way in which uncountable nouns are designated in English (e.g. One cup of milk, a kernel of corn, a sum of money, etc.). Some examples of Chinese classifiers are as follows:

Number Classifier Noun Combined Pinyin English
男孩 一個男孩 yī gè nán hái One boy
三張紙 sān zhāng zhǐ Three sheets of paper
幾隻狗 jǐ zhī gǒu Some dogs

The above are just a few examples of classifiers in Chinese. A more complete list of classifiers can be found here.

Verb Tense[edit | edit source]

Chinese verbs do not undergo conjugation. All verbs have a single form, regardless of the preceding pronoun or subject or whether the verb is being used in the past, present or future.[11] Chinese verb tenses are generally inferred from context or by the placement of time words as highlighted in the following examples:

Chinese Phrase Pinyin English (literal) English Meaning
昨天我去 zuó tiān wǒ qù Yesterday I go Yesterday I went
我上周就看他 wǒ shàng zhōu jiù kàn tā I last week see him I saw him last week
他是1967年生的 Tā shì 1967 nián shēng de He is 1967 year born He was born in 1967

Additional examples of verb tense in Chinese can be found here.

Affirmative/Negative[edit | edit source]

Chinese doesn't have any universal word for "yes" and "no."[12] Instead, answering in the affirmative or negative is usually done by repeating the verb used by the asker:

Repeating the verb indicates “yes.”

Using 不 + the verb indicates “no.”

Chinese Phrase Pinyin English (literal) English Meaning


Q: Nǐ xǐ huan píng guǒ ma?

A: xǐ huan 。

Q: You like apples?

A: Like

Q: Do you like apples?

A: Yes

Q: 你要这个吗?

A: 不要

Q: Nǐ yào zhè ge ma?

A: Bú yào。

Q: You want this?

A: Not want

Q: Do you want this?

A: No

More information on using the affirmative and negative (yes/no) in Mandarin can be found here .

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

The word list below includes words that may be most commonly found in genealogical sources. A list of Chinese trades and occupations and the English equivalents can be found here.

For further help, use a Chinese-English or English-Chinese dictionary. At the Family History Library, Chinese dictionaries are cataloged with call numbers 423.951 and 495.1321 – 495.17321. The following dictionaries available for reference in hardcopy format at the Family History Library may be particularly helpful:

  • Mathews, Robert Henry, Mathews’ Chinese-English Dictionary

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1943 (ISBN: 0674123506; Call No. 495.1321)

  • Editing Group, A New English-Chinese Dictionary

Hong Kong: Joint Publishing Co. (Hong Kong Branch), 1975 (Call No. 423.951)

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject section of the FamilySearch Catalog under China – Language and languages - Dictionaries. Most bookstores also carry inexpensive Chinese-English and English-Chinese dictionaries.

Numbers[edit | edit source]

Chinese has two sets of numbers. The most regularly-used set of numbers can be roughly translated as “small writing” (小寫; xiǎo xiě), and for the purposes of this glossary will be referred to as “numbers.” The other set is used in more formal contexts (e.g. financial, commercial, archival, etc.) and can be roughly translated as “large writing” (大寫; dà xiě), or more commonly, “financial numbers.”[13] The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3, etc.) versions of each number and financial number 0-10 as well as multiples of 10 up through 10,000 in Chinese.

English Number Chinese Number Chinese Financial Number Pinyin
0 líng
2 èr
3 sān
6 liù
9 jiǔ
10 shí
100 bǎi
1,000 qiān
10,000 wàn

Numbers between 10 and 100 are formed by creating a multiple of ten (十) and adding the ones. For example, 11 is 十一, 15 is 十五, 20 is 二十 (20 can also be written as廿), 21 is 二十一, 85 is 八十五, and so forth. The same applies to numbers between 100 and 1,000, with 〇 used to denote the internal zero. For example, 100 is 一百, 101 is 一百〇一, 127 is 百二十七, 327 is 三百二十七, 999 is 九百九十九 and so forth. For a more detailed overview of how Chinese numbers are formed, additional information can be found here.

For ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.), the character 第 (dì) is placed before the cardinal number. For example, 第一is 1st, 第二is 2nd, 第三is 3rd, etc.

Dates/Calendar[edit | edit source]

Unlike much of the Western world, Chinese dates are in order of Year-Month-Day, represented by the characters年 (nián), 月 (yuè) and 日/號 (rì/hào), respectively. In modern times, Chinese dates can also be abbreviated in hyphenated form, similar to the Western world, but still in the same year-month-day format, e.g. 1972-02-16 (February 16, 1972 or 02-16-1972), 2016-12-01 (December 1, 2016 or 12-01-2016), and so forth. Below are examples of dates in English and their Chinese equivalents using both characters and numbers:

English Date Chinese Date Chinese Date (digits)
April 7, 1875 一八七五年四月七日 1875年4月7日 (1875-04-07)
September 23, 1956 一九五六年九月二十三日 1956年9月23日 (1956-09-23)
January 30, 2013 二〇一三年一月三十日 2013年1月30日 (2013-01-30)

The above three dates would be written vertically as follows:

April 7, 1875 September 23, 1956 January 30, 2013

As demonstrated above, the four-digit year in Chinese is represented by the individual digits, rather than fully writing out the number in thousands, hundreds, tens and ones. For example, 1805 is not recorded as one-thousand-eight-hundred-and-eighty-five, but rather, one-eight-zero-five, e.g. 一八〇五.

Chinese/Lunar Calendar[edit | edit source]

The above dates apply only to the Gregorian calendar, which was adopted in China in 1912.[14] Prior to 1912, the Chinese exclusively utilized the Chinese calendar, which is still used in China today (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) albeit to a much lesser degree. The Chinese calendar is known officially as the Rural Calendar (農曆; Nónglì), but is often referred to by other names, such as the Former Calendar (舊曆; Jiùlì), or the Lunar Calendar (陰曆; Yīnlì).[15]

Understanding the Chinese calendar is a critical component in conducting Chinese genealogy research; otherwise, dates of events, including births, deaths, marriages, and so forth, cannot be correctly recorded. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, which is based on 100-year periods, or centuries, the Chinese calendar is based on sixty-year periods comprising what is referred to as the sexagenary cycle (六十花甲; liù shí huā jiǎ). The sexagenary cycle, also referred to as the Stems and Branches (干支; Gān zhī), is divided up into a combination of ten Heavenly Stems (天干; tiān gān) and twelve Earthly Branches (地支; dì zhī) as follows:

Heavenly Stems Pinyin Earthly Branches Pinyin
bǐng yín
dīng mǎo
xīn wèi
rén shēn
guǐ yǒu

Within the sexagenary cycle, the Heavenly Stems repeat six times (10 x 6 = 60) and the Earthly Branches repeat five times (12 x 5 = 60). Using this pattern, the first year of every sexagenary cycle is 甲子 (jiǎ zǐ) and the 60th year is 癸亥 (guǐ hài). A complete table showing all sixty years of the sexagenary cycle can be found here.

Another step in converting the Chinese calendar to the Gregorian calendar is to identify the reign year (帝號; dì hào) or the reign title (年號; nián hào), which corresponds to which emperor was on the throne at the time. A complete listing of Chinese imperial reigns can be found here]. Identifying both the reign year and the sexagenary cycle designator (i.e. Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch combination) on a historical record will then allow accurate conversion to the Gregorian calendar.

As an example of a conversion, a record containing 大清乾隆己未 (dà qīng qián lóng jǐ wèi) would refer to the Qing Dynasty (大清), which lasted from 1644-1912; followed by the reign of Emperor Qianlong (乾隆), which lasted from 1736-1795; and the year 己未. Using Qianlong’s reign from 1736-1795 as a point of reference, one could then utilize online resources (such as here) to determine that己未refers to the Gregorian year of 1739.[16]

In addition to the Chinese and Gregorian calendars, the Minguo or Republic of China calendar (民國紀元; mín guó jì yuán) is also in use today, but almost exclusively in Taiwan. This calendar originated in 1912, the year in which the Republic of China was established. To convert a Minguo calendar date to the Gregorian calendar, add 1911 to the Minguo year. For instance, Minguo year 107 is Gregorian year 2018.

Key Words[edit | edit source]

To find and use specific types of Chinese records, you will need to know some key words in Chinese. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the Chinese words with the same or similar meanings. Due to the inability to arrange Chinese characters alphabetically (this could be done by pinyin, but that would assume the researcher knows the pronunciation of the character), this Key Words list as well as the following General Word List are arranged alphabetically by the English words. The first column contains the English word, followed by the Chinese-character translation in the second column, and the pinyin romanization in the third column.

English Chinese Pinyin
Age 歲, 年齡 suì, nián líng
Ancestor 祖先 zǔ xiān
Baptism 受洗, 洗禮 shòu xǐ, xǐ lǐ
Birth 生, 出生 shēng, chū shēng
Branch genealogy record 支譜 zhī pǔ
Child 孩子 hái zi
Clan genealogy 族譜 zú pǔ
Daughter 女兒 nǚ ér
Death 死, 去世, 逝世 sǐ, qù shì, shì shì
Family genealogy 家譜 jiā pǔ
Family, clan shì
Family, home jiā
Father 父, 父親 fù, fù qīn
Female 女, 女生 nǚ, nǚ shēng
First 初, 第一 chū, dì yī
General genealogy record 宗譜 zōng pǔ
Household register 戶籍登記 hù jí dēng jì
Husband 丈夫, 先生 zhàng fū, xiān shēng
Index, table of contents 目錄 mù lù
Lineage branch or segment 堂號, 派 táng hào, pài
Male 男, 男生 nán, nán shēng
Marriage 婚姻 hūn yīn
Marry (v) 結婚, 娶, 配 jié hūn, qǔ, pèi
Month yuè
Mother 母, 母親 mǔ, mǔ qīn
Person rén
Personal history 自傳 zì zhuàn
Registered address 登記地址 dēng jì dì zhǐ
Son 子, 兒子 zǐ, érzi
Surname 姓, 氏 xìng, shì
Wife 太太, 老婆 tài tài, lǎo pó
Wife (first wife) 元配 (第一個太太) yuán pèi (dì yī ge tài tài)
Year nián

General Word List[edit | edit source]

This general word list includes additional words commonly seen in genealogical sources. The first column is the English word, followed by the Chinese-character translation in the second column, and then the pinyin romanization in the third column.

A[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Accountant 會計 kuài jì
Adopt (a child) 收養, 領養 shōu yǎng, lǐng yǎng
Adultery 姦淫 jiān yín
America 美國 měi guó
Ancestral Hall 祠堂 cí táng
April 四月 (肆月) sì yuè
Archive 檔案 dǎng àn
Army 陸軍 lù jūn
Artisan 工匠 gōng jiàng
August 八月 (捌月) bā yuè

B[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Banker 銀行家 yín háng jiā
Barber 理髮師 lǐ fà shī
Begat (gave birth to) shēng
Beggar 乞丐 qǐ gài
Beginning, start shǐ
Blacksmith 鐵匠 tiě jiàng
Book 書,冊 shū
Border 邊境 biān jìng
Bride 新娘 xīn niáng
Born on (date) 生於 shēng yú
Buried 隱藏, 被埋葬 yǐn cáng, bèi mái zàng
Buried on (date) 墓於 mù yú
Buried at (location) 墓在 mù zài
Butcher 屠夫 tú fū

C[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Carpenter 木匠 mù jiàng
Catholic 天主教 tiān zhǔ jiào
Cemetery 公墓, 墓地 gōng mù, mù dì
Century 世紀 shì jì
Ceremony 儀式 yí shì
Certificate 證書 zhèng shū
China 中國 zhōng guó
Church (edifice) 教堂 jiào táng
Church (org) 教會 jiào huì
Citizen 公民 gōng mín
City chéng
City, Municipality shì
Civil registration 民事登記 mín shì dēng jì
Cobbler 皮匠 pí jiàng
Concubine qiè
Country xiàn

D[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Date (n) 日, 日期 rì, rì qí
Deceased person 死者 sǐ zhě
December 十二月 (拾貳月) shí èr yuè
Dictionary 字典, 詞典 zì diǎn, cí diǎn
Disease 疾病 jí bìng
Died on (date) 終於 zhōng yú
Divorce 離婚 lí hūn
Doctor 醫生, 醫師 yī shēng, yī shī
Document (n) 文件 wén jiàn
Draft (troops) 徵兵 zhēng bīng
Dynasty 王朝, 朝代 wáng cháo, cháo dài

E[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
East dōng
Eastern Han Dynasty 東漢朝 dōng hàn cháo
Eastern Jin Dynasty 東晉朝 dōng jìn cháo
Eastern Zhou Dynasty 東周朝 dōng zhōu cháo
Eldest son 長子 zhǎng zǐ
Emigrant, overseas Chinese 僑, 華僑 qiáo, huá qiáo
Empire 帝國 dì guó
Emperor 皇帝 huáng dì
Empress 皇后 huáng hòu
England 英國 yīng guó
Eunuch 宦官 huàn guān

F[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Farmer 農人 nóng rén
February 二月 (貳月) èr yuè
First ancestor 始祖 shǐ zǔ
First migrant ancestor 始遷祖 shǐ qiān zǔ
Fisherman 漁夫 yú fū
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 五代十國 wǔ dài shí guó
Foreigner (derogatory) 洋鬼子, 鬼佬 yáng guǐ zi, guǐ lǎo
Foreigner (polite) 外人, 洋人, 外國人 wài rén, yáng rén, wài guó rén
Forest 林, 森林 lín, sēn lín
Friday 周五, 星期五, 禮拜五 zhōu wǔ, xīng qí wǔ, lǐ bài wǔ
Friend 朋友 péng yǒu

G[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Gardener 園丁, 花匠 yuán dīng, huā jiàng
Generation 世代 shì dài
Generation name 輩字 bèi zì
Generation poem 字輩詞 zì bèi cí
Gentry/scholars shì
Goldsmith 金匠 jīn jiàng
Government 政府 zhèng fǔ
Granddaughter 孫女 sūn nǚ
Grandson 孫子 sūn zi
Grave (n)

H[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Herdsman 牧人 mù rén
Hill qiū
History 歷史 lì shǐ
Hometown, rural area xiāng
Hong Kong 香港 xiāng gǎng
Hour shí
House 房子, 住宅 fáng zi, zhù zhái
Housekeeper 管家 guǎn jiā
Housewife 主婦 zhǔ fù
Hunter 獵人 liè rén

I[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Immigrant 移民 yí mín
Infant 嬰兒 yīng ér
Inheritance 遺產 yí chǎn
Island 島, 島嶼 dǎo, dǎo yǔ

J[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
January 一月 (壹月) yī yuè
Japan 日本 rì běn
Jeweler 珠寶商 zhū bǎo shāng
Jin Dynasty 晉朝 jìn cháo
Judge (n) 法官 fǎ guān
July 七月 (柒月) qī yuè
June 六月 (陸月) liù yuè

K[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Kilometer 公里 gōng lǐ
Kingdom of Dali 大理國 dà lǐ guó
Korea 韓國 hán guó

L[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Laborer 勞工 láo gōng
Landlord 房東 fáng dōng
Left (direction) zuǒ
Legal 法律 fǎ lǜ
Legitimate, legal 合法 hé fǎ
Liao Dynasty 遼朝 liáo cháo
Library 圖書館 tú shū guǎn
Location (place) 地方 dì fāng
Locksmith 鎖匠 suǒ jiàng

M[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Manchuria 满洲 mǎn zhōu
Map 地圖 dì tú
March 三月 (叁月) sān yuè
Market 市場, 商場 shì chǎng, shāng chǎng
Married 已婚 yǐ hūn
Mason 石匠 shí jiàng
Maternal grandfather 外公 wài gōng
Maternal grandmother 外婆 wài pó
May 五月 (伍月) wǔ yuè
Merchant 商人 shāng rén
Meter 公尺 gōng chǐ
Midwife 助產士 zhù chǎn shì
Mile (Chinese) 公里 gong lǐ
Mile (UK) 英里 yīng lǐ
Miner 礦工 kuàng gōng
Ming Dynasty 明朝 míng cháo
Monday 周一, 星期一, 禮拜一 zhōu yī, xīng qí yī, lǐ bài yī
Money qián
Mongolia 蒙古 méng gǔ
Mountain shān
Move, migrate qiān

N[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Name 名, 名字 míng, míng zì
Nationality 國籍 guó jí
Native 本地人, 本國人 běn dì rén, běn guó rén
Navy 海軍 hǎi jūn
New xīn
Newspaper 報紙 bào zhǐ
North běi
Northern Song Dynasty 北宋朝 běi song cháo
Notary 公證 gōng zhèng
November 十一月 (拾壹月) shí yī yuè
Number 號碼 hào mǎ
Nurse 護士 hù shì

O[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
October 十月 (拾月) shí yuè
Official (n) guān
Old lǎo
Originating ancestor 本祖 běn zǔ
Orphan 孤兒 gū ér

P[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Painter 畫家 huà jiā
Palace gōng
Passport 護照 hù zhào
Paternal grandfather 爺爺, 祖父 yé yé, zǔ fù
Paternal grandmother 奶奶, 祖母 nǎi nai, zǔ mǔ
Peasant 農民 nóng mín
People's Republic of China (PRC) 中華人民共和國 zhōng huá rén mín gòng hé guó
Periodical 期刊 qí kān
Place (location) 地方 dì fāng
Plague 鼠疫, 瘟疫 shǔ yì, wēn yì
Policeman 警察, 警官 jǐng chá, jǐng guān
Population 人口 rén kǒu
Port city
Potter 製陶工人 zhì táo gong rén
Prefecture zhōu
Pregnant 孕, 懷孕 yùn, huái yùn
Prince 王子 wáng zǐ
Princess 公主, 王妃 gōng zhǔ, wáng fēi
Property 財產 cái chǎn
Prostitute 妓女 jì nǚ
Province shěng
Publish (books) 出版 chū bǎn

Q[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Qin Dynasty 秦朝 qín cháo
Qing Dynasty 清朝 qīng cháo

R[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Receive surname 受姓 shòu xìng
Record (n) 記錄 jì lù
Register (roll) 名册 míng cè
Registration 登記 dēng jì
Relative (family) 親, 親戚 qīn, qīn qī
Relationship 係,關係 xì, guān xì
Religion 宗教 zōng jiào
Republic of China (ROC) 中華民國 zhōng huá mín guó
Respectful term of address for elderly man or father gōng
Right (direction) yòu
Rite 儀式 yí shì
Road 路, 道 lù, dào

S[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Saturday 周六, 星期六, 禮拜六 zhōu liù, xīng qí liù, lǐ bài liù
Seamstress 裁縫 cái féng
Second generation ancestors 二世祖 èr shì zǔ
Second son 次子 cì zǐ
September 九月 (玖月) jiǔ yuè
Servant 僕人 pú rén
Shang Dynasty 商朝 shāng cháo
Shepherd 牧人 mù rén
Shoemaker 鞋匠 xié jiàng
Signature 簽字, 簽名 qiān zì, qiān míng
Smith 工匠 gōng jiàng
Soldier 士兵, 戰士, 軍人 shì bīng, zhàn shì, jūn rén
South nán
Southern and Northern Dynasties 南北朝 nán běi cháo
Southern Song Dynasty 南宋朝 nán song cháo
Spouse 配, 妣 pèi, bǐ
Spring and Autumn Period 春秋時代 chūn qiū shí dài
Stillborn 死胎 sǐ tāi
Stonecutter 石匠 shí jiàng
Street jiē
Sui Dynasty 隋朝 suí cháo
Sunday 周日, 星期日, 禮拜日 zhōu rì, xīng qí rì, lǐ bài rì

T[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Taboo name (for deceased emperor or head of family) huì
Taiwan 臺灣 (台灣) tái wān
Tang Dynasty 唐朝 táng cháo
Tax (n) shuì
Teacher 老師 lǎo shī
Temple 寺廟 sì miào
Third son 三子 sān zǐ
Three Kingdoms 三國 sān guó
Thursday 周四, 星期四, 禮拜四 zhōu sì, xīng qí sì, lǐ bài sì
Today 今日, 今天 jīn rì, jīn tiān
Tomorrow 明日, 明天 míng rì, míng tiān
Town zhèn
Trade 行業 háng yè
Tuesday 周二, 星期二, 禮拜二 zhōu èr, xīng qí èr, lǐ bài èr

U[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Unknown 未知, 不明 wèi zhī, bù míng

V[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Village cūn
Virgin 處女 chǔ nǚ

W[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Warring States Period 戰國時代 zhàn guó shí dài
Wedding 婚禮 hūn lǐ
Wednesday 周三, 星期三, 禮拜三 zhōu sān, xīng qí sān, lǐ bài sān
West 西
Western Han Dynasty 西漢朝 xī hàn cháo
Western Jin Dynasty 西晉朝 xī jìn cháo
Western Liao Dynasty 西遼朝 xī liáo cháo
Western Xia Dynasty 西夏朝 xī xià cháo
Western Zhou Dynasty 西周朝 xī zhōu cháo
Wet nurse 乳母 rǔ mǔ
Widow 寡婦 guǎ fù
Widower 鰥夫 guān fū
Will (document) 遺囑 yí zhǔ
Woodcarver 木雕 mù diāo
Woodcutter 樵夫 qiáo fū

X[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Xia Dynasty 夏朝 xià cháo
Xin Dynasty 新朝 xīn cháo

Y[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Yuan Dynasty 元朝 yuán cháo

Z[edit | edit source]

English Chinese Pinyin
Zodiac (Chinese) 生肖 shēng xiào

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Written Chinese," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 February 2018.
  2. How Many Chinese Languages Are There, Hutong School,, accessed 1 February 2018.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Chinese language," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 February 2018.
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  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Wade-Giles," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 February 2018.
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  12. How to Say "Yes" and "No" in Chinese,
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Chinese numerals," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 February 2018.
  14. Wikipedia contributors, "Adoption of the Gregorian calendar," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 1 February 2018.
  15. Wikipedia contributors, "Chinese Calendar," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, , accessed 1 February 2018.
  16. King, Tony. Helps for Reading Chinese Genealogies, unpublished paper (Last updated: September 2015).