A Comparative Study of Social Address Terms in Chinese and English



The system of address terms is an indispensible part of human communication. Social address terms are subordinates of all the address terms humans have. They are used to denote people other than family members. Compared with kinship terms, the usage of social address terms is much more complex and flexible. First, the actual choices of social address terms are determined by the complex social relationship and social roles rather than blood relationship. Besides, the social address terms are unstable and subject to change. As the social structure and cultural values change, social address terms that denote interpersonal relationship will change accordingly. As a result of these features, social address terms are more likely to cause problems in communication because a person has no definite address terms in a society. Chinese and English social address terms bear great differences due to the huge cultural differences. In this paper, a comparison of Chinese and English social address terms is made and the cultural differences behind them discussed. It is hoped that the paper is of some help to cross-cultural communication and those who concern with the investigation of address terms.


Social address terms; Comparison; Culture

Full Text:



Brown, R., & Ford, M. (1961). Address in American English. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 62, 375-385.

Brown, R., & Gilman, A. (1960). The pronouns of power aced solidarity. In T. A. Sebeok (Ed.), Style in language (pp.253-276). Cambridge: MIT Press.

Fitch, K. L. (1998). Speaking relationally: Culture, communication, and interpersonal connection. New York: Guilford.

Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., & Stefani, L. A. (2011). Communication between cultures. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Liang, S. M. (2003). Gist of Chinese culture. Shanghai: Shanghai People’s Publishing House. (In Chinese).

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/3868


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:
caooc@hotmail.com; hess@cscanada.net; hess@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Higher Education of Social Science are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailcaooc@hotmail.com; office@cscanada.net

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Research & Development Center of Sciences and Cultures