I just think that Australians are nice and funny, like even the Australian customers that I met in our shop in Italy.
IpseDixit wrote:I was wondering, in how many cultures there's the concept of fiance? Here in Italy we don't really make a distinction between fiance and boy/girlfriend, one is boy/girlfriend till they get married, at that point they become husband/wife/spouse. What about your culture?
I remember when I looked for the definition of "fidanzato" in the dictionary, and was surprised that it was defined as someone who "promised marriage", cause in daily life I'd never heard it with that meaning, and that's when I learned the "proper" meaning of the word.
Things are more complicated, because "fidanzato/a" sounds a little old-fashioned to young people nowadays, who prefer "ragazzo/a" (lit. boy/girl), but sometimes it can be ambiguous, so people still use "fidanzato/a". Northern Italians solved this by using the word "moroso/a".
While the verb "fidanzarsi" is common usage and doesn't mean "engage" most of the times, but "become someone's boy/girlfriend".
I guess, this may be a remnant of the old traditional culture, where people didn't date and didn't become "boy/girlfriend", but instead they were introduced to each other by their families, or even if they met each other by themselves, if they stayed together it meant that they were going to marry soon (or rather, they were allowed to be together only if they were going to marry soon).
So probably at that time, the term fidanzato/a
really meant "fiancé(e)".
Then when society customs modernised, Italian didn't come up with a new term for boy/girlfriend.
On the other hand it's interesting that Alessandro Manzoni's most famous novel is "I Promessi Sposi" (lit. "The Promised Spouses") and not "I Fidanzati".
Facebook translates "engaged" as "ufficialmente fidanzato/a" ("officially engaged") in Italian. But many people still understand it as "to have an official boy/girlfriend" and it looks weird when I change language on Facebook and see so many engaged friends from Italy.
In Chinese the terms for boyfriend/girlfriend are the same as English: 男朋友 nánpéngyou
(lit. "male-friend") and 女朋友 nǚpéngyou
So when you need to actually say "male friend" you may say 男的朋友 nán de péngyou (male [particle] friend, friend who is male) or 男性朋友 nánxìng péngyou (male-gender friend), and the same for "female friend" 女的朋友 nǚ de péngyou, 女性朋友 nǚxìng péngyou.
In China customs about marriage vary a lot regionally. But one thing in common is that a couple first gets engaged and then gets married.
"Engaged" means that the couple already chose the wedding date, in fact the Chinese term for "get engaged" is 订婚 dìnghūn
(lit. "to book the wedding").
The formal terms for "fiancé(e)" are 未婚夫 (lit. "non-married husband") and 未婚妻 (lit. "non-married wife"); once I saw that an exam at a linguistics university even asked students to explain the logical flaws of such expressions.
But in practice, when two people get engaged, they call each other husband and wife, and their parents-in-law dad and mom (though that may happen even before the engagement).
And engagement consists in a dinner with the family members and friends too (I'm not sure if they also buy engagement rings, but probably yes), sometimes the couple's families give presents to guests like candies or cigarettes (yes, it's a Chinese custom to give cigarettes as gifts at weddings) and guests give cash in red envelops... so it looks like a simpler wedding.
So a Chinese engagement is like a simple wedding in the West, and a Chinese wedding is like a celebrity's wedding in the West.