第68期: 他娶她嫁他 (Will You Marry Me?)

哈喽,大家好,我是Kaycee。

我们今天来讲讲结婚吧。先声明一下,今天这一期呢,讲的都是异性恋。那好,那我们就直接进入主题吧。

用英语求婚的时候会说: Will you marry me? 翻译成中文就是:你愿意和我结婚吗?这个在中文语境里就感觉很奇怪了。目前来讲,更自然的表达是:你愿意嫁给我吗?或者你愿意娶我吗?在上一期,我们读的小故事里我们也看到了,事实是这样的,大家也都是这么表达的。但是这种表达方式,严重一点我觉得是一种性别歧视,或者至少是一种过时的说法把。为什么呢?其实看一看中文的字形就知道了。

先从“嫁”开始吧。它是女字旁,“女”字在左边,一个家园的“家”字在右边,这就有了一种女的被带回家了这种被动的感觉。似乎意味着那个男人是她的家,是她的依靠。这也象征着过去的一些传统的想法吧,就是女方结婚时,她原本的家庭或多或少放弃了对她的所有权和控制权。这个在过去的社会里,世界各地都是一样的。那中国也有娘家这一说。娘家就是女方父母的家,或者描述女方比较亲近的亲戚、甚至朋友。所以,不是回家,而是回娘家,代表着她结婚后,真正的家是跟男人在一起的那个家。传统习俗是女人嫁给男人之后,会跟男人的家人住在一起。但是现在在现代社会中,很多人更习惯的是结婚之后选择单独住,不跟父母住在一起,所以现在中立一点的说法呢,也可以说成,女人结婚之后,跟男人组成了一个新家。但是无论如何,嫁听起来都是比较被动的,多多少少有种物化女性的概念在里面。延伸一点的话就是宗族的概念了,因为传统观念就是结婚生子嘛,结了婚,生了孩子跟谁的姓?那当然是跟着父亲的姓氏嘛。说到这儿,中国传统中有一个优点是我不得不说的,就是结婚之后,女方不用改自己的姓氏。

那好,那男方就不一样了,自己的姓氏是自己的姓氏,自己的家就是自己的家,跟妻子的家是家,跟父母的家也是家。根本就没有娘家这一说道嘛。

然后我们再看看“娶”这个字。我们来看看这个字的结构,上面是个取走的“取”字,下面是个“女”字。就是把女的取走的意思嘛。非常主动,甚至有点霸道。当然,这很符合我们刚刚说过的那种传统,旧时代的生活方式。这反映了过去的生活,所以并不奇怪,但是令我感到惊讶的是,在现在,我们依然还会用这样的说法。

语言是很强大的,它可以引导我们的思想、思维方式,所以我还是鼓励大家尽量少用这些潜意识里带有歧视的语言,也鼓励大家去鼓励别人这么做。娶和嫁本身并没有它们特别的定义或感情所在,其实用结婚代替娶和嫁,不也挺好的么。

不仅中文是这样,英语也是如此,举个例子吧。以前当律师的时候,我们会准备各种公司的董事会的稿子,董事会都会有一个主席、懂事长,稿子的模版呢写的都是chairman。这是因为数百年以来,公司高层基本都是男人。现在在慢慢改变,但是继续用这样更倾向于某一性别的词,我们也几乎默认了那个职位就是为男人保留的。Chairperson,不挺好的么。其实大家想一想的话,类似于这样的词是很常见的,在各种语言里都有,大家可以注意一下。

那好,我们回到结婚。这一期可能没有时间讲习俗了,以后给大家补回来哈。中国的结婚习俗还是挺好玩的。我们可以连接现代结婚习俗和古代时候的一些传统习俗。有很多相似的地方,也有很多不一样的地方。所以还挺有意思的。我们改天可以了解一下。

那这一期在最后,我们讲一讲赘婿吧。我猜很多人可能不知道有赘婿这么一个概念。赘婿就是男女结婚之后,男方定居女方家里,生的孩子从母姓。过去呢,赘婿也被认为是微贱之人,就是卑微、低贱。现代社会中,多多少少也有点这样的观点吧。会觉得,咦,这个男人没本事、小白脸、没有用之类的,所以才会赘如女人家里。我真的也不是想把所有事情都跟性别挂钩,但是摆在这儿,我也不能不说。为什么用低贱形容赘婿呢?女人跟男人结婚,不是住在男人家么,生的孩子不是从父姓么,怎么反过来就形容这样的男人卑微、低贱了呢?这对于女人的社会地位而言又意味着什么呢?我相信我不说,大家也清楚。

《赘婿》也是最近刚播完的一个电视剧,大家有兴趣的话可以去看一看。这部剧挺轻松的,也挺搞笑的。如果大家想大致的了解一下人们对赘婿的看法,这部剧是表现出来了的。但是把这部戏推荐给大家之前,有两点我想说一下:这部剧的大背景虽然是古代、武朝,但并没有什么学习历史的价值,大部分都是虚构的。而且,就性别歧视而言,也有一些争议,我在这儿就不多说了。所以就算是提醒一下吧。

走之前我还有一件事儿。几个月之前吧。我新建立了一个网站,网站上包括一些我的一些想法吧,就是怎样可以进一步地帮助大家练习中文。这个网站叫 chineseconversed.com。它的概念呢?其实就是:一,可不可以借用我的声音帮助大家练习中文,二是,可不可以借用机器帮助大家练习发音。大家去这个网站上可以看一看,然后如果觉得这个有帮助的话,我可以继续往下开发一下。如果觉得这个想法很好,但是实际上用不到,或者感觉挺无聊的,大家也可以跟我说一声。呃,目前上面的内容很少,因为毕竟想先测试一下。所以欢迎大家去看一下,把你的想法告诉我。

那好,那我们下期见。

English translation (as translated by Amber Godsland)

Hello, hi everyone, I’m Kaycee.

Today we’ll talk about marriage. First of all, I would like to state that today’s episode focuses on heterosexual marriage. Okay, let’s get into the topic right away.

In English when proposing we say, “Will you marry me?”, which translated into Chinese is: 你愿意和我结婚吗nǐ yuàn yì jià gěi wǒ má?”.  This is strange in a Chinese context. Now, a more natural way to say this is: “你愿意嫁给我吗?(nǐ yuàn yì jià gěi wǒ má?)” or 你愿意娶我吗?(“nǐ yuàn yì jià gěi wǒ má?”. In the last episode,we saw in the short story that in fact everyone expresses it this way. But this way of expressing it, in my opinion, is sexist at worst, outdated at best. Why? We can actually take a look at the character form to find out.

Let’s start with 嫁(jià). It has the female radical. The character 女() is on the left, and the character 家(jiā) from “home” / 家园(jiāyuán) is on the right. This gives a passive feeling that a woman is taken home. It seems to mean that the man is her home which she depends on. This also symbolises some traditional past ideas that when the woman gets married, her original family more or less gives up the ownership and control of her. This was similar everywhere in the world historically. In China, 娘家 (niángjia) is also spoken of. 娘家(Niángjia) is the home of the woman’s parents, or describes the woman’s close relatives or even friends. So, instead of “going home”, she is going back to her “parents’ home” which means after she gets married, her real home is the one where she lives with the man. The traditional custom is that after a woman marries a man, she will live with the man’s family. But in modern society, many people are now accustomed to choosing to live independently after they get married, not with their parents. So now a more neutral statement can be said that after a woman gets married, she forms a new home with a man. But in any case, 嫁 (jià) sounds more passive, and to some extent innately has the notion of objectifying women. If expanding on this, it’s a concept from family clans, because the custom is to get married to have children. When married, which family name do they give to the child? Of course, it follows the father’s family name. Speaking of this, I must say there is an advantage in Chinese tradition which is the woman does not need to change her family name after getting married.

So, the man is different, his family name is his family name, his home is his home, his wife’s home is his home, his parents’ home is also his home. There is no such thing as his 娘家 (niángjia).

Now we’ll take another look at character 娶(). We will look at the character’s structure; the top is 取() from the word “remove” /取走 (qǔ zǒu)and the bottom is the character for female. The meaning is to take away or remove the female. It’s very active, even quite tyrannical. Of course, this is in keeping with the traditions we just talked about; a way of living in the old days. This is a reflection of the past, so it is not surprising, but what makes me surprised is that now we still use this way of speaking.

Language is very powerful. It can steer our ideology and our way of thinking, so I encourage everyone to use this subconsciously discriminatory language as little as possible, and also encourage everyone to encourage others to do the same. 娶() and 嫁(jià) themselves really don’t have special definitions or feelings, but isn’t it okay to just use 结婚(jié hūn) instead of 娶() and 嫁(jià)?

It’s not only Chinese that is like this, English is too, I’ll give an example. When I used to work as a lawyer, we would prepare documents for the board of directors for various companies. The board of directors would have a chairman and a director. In the templates for these documents “chairman” was written. This is because for hundreds of years, the company’s top executives were basically men. This is slowly changing, but by continuing to use words that are more inclined to a certain gender we almost agree tacitly that the position should be reserved for men. Chairperson – isn’t it okay? In fact, if you think about it, words like this are very common and exist in various languages, so pay attention.

Okay, let’s return to marriage. In this episode, there is probably not enough time to talk about traditions, but I will make it up to everyone in the future. Chinese marriage customs are pretty fun. We can connect some ancient traditions with current ones. There are many similarities and differences, so it’s really interesting. We can discuss it another time. We are at the end of this episode, so let’s talk about 赘婿(zhuìxù). I guess many people may not know the concept of having a 赘婿(zhuìxù). The 赘婿(zhuìxù) means that after a man and woman get married, the man settles down in the woman’s house, and the child born is given the mother’s family name. In the past, a 赘婿(zhuìxùwas regarded as a humble person —undistinguished and lowly. In modern society, there is something somewhat similar to this concept that thinks, hey, this man has no skills, only a pretty face, nothing useful, so he’s just like a woman at home. I really don’t want to link everything with gender, but I can’t help but say it here. Why use “lowly” to describe a 赘婿(zhuìxù)? When a woman marries a man, doesn’t she live in a man’s house? Doesn’t she give birth to a child using the father’s name? How can we describe such a man as humble and lowly? What does this mean for women’s social status? I believe that even if I don’t say it, everyone still understands it.


“赘婿(Zhuìxù) ” is also a TV series that has been broadcast recently. If you are interested, you can go and watch it. This show is very relaxed and funny. If you want to get a general idea of what people think about 赘婿(zhuìxù), this drama shows it. But before recommending this show to everyone, I want to make two points. Although this show is set in ancient times, the Wu Dynasty, it it not valuable for learning about history, and most of it is fictitious. Moreover, there is some controversy as far as gender discrimination is concerned, so I won’t say more here. Just as a warning.

I have one more thing before I go. A few months ago, I created a new website. The website includes some of my thoughts on how to further help you practice Chinese. This website is called “chineseconversed.com”. What is its purpose? In fact, first I thought: could I lend my voice to help people practice Chinese? And second: could I lend people a machine to help them practice pronunciation? You can go to this website to take a look, and if you find this helpful, I can continue to develop it. If you think this idea is very good, but you don’t actually use it in practice, or it feels quite boring; you can also tell me. There is currently very little content, because I want to test it first after all. So everyone is welcome to take a look and tell me your thoughts. Okay, see you in the next episode.

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