The uncertainties of saying "auntie"

How does one address one's friend's grandmother? This question stumped me when I was invited to Stellou's for dinner, although I forgot to ask her beforehand and wound up calling her grandmother "auntie". Which I later heard Stellou's friend and other dinner guest say as well, which made me feel better.

"Auntie" seems a tad too familiar, though, for addressing someone two generations older. I know my mother says something that sounds like "Chair-mm" in Cantonese when she greets her siblings' in-laws, but I have no idea what that term means or if it applies to grandparental types.

Help, anyone?


Related post: The uncertainties of saying "uncle"

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At 2/22/2008 6:15 am , Blogger louist said...

i call my cousin's grandma (the one i'm not related to) 'char-mmm', but i've no clue what it means. or if it even applies for friends' grandparents. or if said grandparents of non-cantonese(?) heritage will even know what it means.

At 2/22/2008 9:39 am , Blogger Little Miss Drinkalot said...

Well, I address the best friend's grandma same as how the best friend addresses her - Ah Ma.

At 2/23/2008 3:22 am , Blogger limegreenspyda said...

I've never heard of the term "chair-mmm" even though the dialect spoken predominantly in both sides of my family is Cantonese.

But I call everyone Auntie. Everyone. Even if they are younger than me. It has not yet failed me. :)

At 2/23/2008 4:36 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you can try Ah Po. I used to call my neighbour's grandma that. They are Cantonese too.

At 2/23/2008 7:51 pm , Blogger Ondine said...

If these 'grand aunts' are from Mom's Pernakan side or are of Peranakan descent, I call them "Po-Po".

If not, they are "ah Por". I've never come across Grand uncles and we were stumped as to how the twins would refer to Yong Ern's father.


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