One of the biggest challenges many learners face is in trying to learn the different ways of addressing family members. I remember what pretty much amounted a general look of confusion around the classroom as we went over the multitude of combinations. Of course, we were told “well, just parents, siblings and close relatives matters” to which everyone replied:
Still, it wasn’t quite enough. This class was in Taiwan and a general walk down the street, chat with the local breakfast shop owner, or even stories from local friends made it painfully obvious that we needed to know more.
Flashcards are great, but what if you needed to know on the fly? What if, suddenly in conversation, you forgot and had to remember that estranged aunt or the cousin you’d really rather not talk about?
Now, of course, there is an app for that. It’s called “Relative Calculator”, or「三姑六婆—親戚稱呼計算機」. The name of the app itself obviously says more than “Relationship Calculator” and is definitely due an explanation.
The first part, 三姑六婆（sāngūliùpó）is an idiom which means “women in an illegal/disreputable profession”, and it can also mean a “woman who likes to pick fights”. There’s likely a good reason for choosing this, so if anyone has some thoughts throw them out in the comments below. Anyway the less said about this the better, so let’s move on.
The second part, 親戚稱呼計算機 is pretty straightforward. It is literally “Relative Naming Calculator”:
親戚 （qīnqi）: relatives
稱呼（chēnghu）: to call/address as
One nice thing, too, is that this app is for both iOS and Android, so we’re covered either way! The interface for both versions is pretty much the same, aside from platform specific differences. Still, this app is Chinese-only and you’ll want to have a dictionary nearby if you need to look any pronunciation or meaning for any of the characters.
First and foremost, after opening the app, it will ask you to select your sex then the relationship, and finally hit enter to get the results:
You can also use the「的」key to chain phrases together when building a relationship tree:
Sometimes it will come across situations where you need to pick the relationship based on age, and choose whether or not they are older or younger than you:
There are times, though, you’ll come across a relationship that it doesn’t have information for and it’ll tell you 「暫時沒有資訊」and you’ll need to hit the CE button and start over.
In some of the testing I did, it seemed to work pretty well, although there are some weird cases that may be worth double checking unless you’re 100% confident you know what it means and how to use it. Also, it takes a little getting used to as far as navigating the different relationships, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty smoothly from there on out.
Still, it’s a fun app and definitely worth taking the time to check out.
Download Relatives Calculator for iOS here.
Download Relatives Calculator for Android here.
And of course they have a Facebook page which you can check out here.