Vocabulary + culture: 嫁

Yesterday I learned the word 嫁(jià). It’s a common word, my teacher tells me, and it means marry. But under most circumstances it can only be used to describe a woman marrying a man. I can say Jane married Bill: Jane 嫁给了 Bill (Jane jià gěi le Bill), but I can’t use this word to say Bill married Jane: NOT Bill 嫁给了 Jane (Bill jià gěi le Jane). If I do say the latter, it means that Jane’s family covers all the wedding expenses, Bill takes on Jane’s family name, and their children will all carry on Jane’s family name. I’m guessing, although I don’t know, that this is something that would happen traditionally if there weren’t any male heirs in Jane’s family. I’m also told that Bill must be very poor to agree to such a thing.

Incidentally, I am aware of the fact that Jane and Bill aren’t Chinese names. I just didn’t know of any Chinese names where the gender would be obvious to non-Chinese speakers.


3 Responses to “Vocabulary + culture: 嫁”

  1. 1 Aaron Posehn May 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Nicely explained! You said though that there isn’t a word for a man marrying a woman. Isn’t the word 娶 (qu3)? Maybe it doesn’t exactly mean the same relationship as 嫁.

    • 2 Katie Tang May 12, 2010 at 10:32 am

      Hmm, I stand corrected. At least, that looks like an equivalent. I’ll try to remember to ask about it today.

      • 3 Katie Tang May 27, 2010 at 10:11 am

        So I still haven’t asked about it, but I also haven’t forgotten. I’m wondering, though, if the reason I was told there’s no equivalent is one of the following:

        – 嫁 is in common usage and 娶 isn’t. I don’t know if this is true–I do know 嫁 is common.

        – 娶 doesn’t carry the same cultural implications we were discussing and so in that sense there’s no equivalent.

        For now, in case other readers are wondering, I deleted a previously made claim that there’s no equivalent of 嫁 to talk about a man marrying a woman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers


%d bloggers like this: