Chinese Grammar: Chinese prefix 老 and 阿
Nincha loves to call Yocha 老 苹果. As a clear proof of his profound respect for Yocha, Nincha like the Chinese used to add 老 to show some kind of respect and warm. Even if adding a prefix is not really common in Chinese, the Chinese use 老 and 阿 quite often, you'll see.
Rules about the prefix 老-
老 is a prefix and a prefix is called 前缀 in Chinese, such as “re-work” in English. 老 can be added to many words to form a new meaning. 老 can be both an adjective and means “aged/old”, or it can be an adverb and means “always”.
Structure [老 + Word]
Usually, use this structure to address people which you are familiar and still want to be cordial. It helps identify people informally but with respect. Let’s take a look at some examples:
老师 - teacher
老板 - boss
老虎 - tiger
老鼠 - mice
老妈 - mom
老爸 - dad
老公 - husband
老婆 - wife
Structure [老lo] + 姓氏]
老 with a family name is a familiar way to address people to show kindness to a close person.
Rules about the prefix 阿-
阿 is a particle in Chinese, just like 老. It's also a prefix to address people informally in spoken Chinese, you can always hear people using it.
[阿 + Word]
阿姨 - auntie
阿 婶 - aunt
阿妹 - sister
阿弟 - brother
阿三 - the informal way of saying the Indians
In the south of China, they always address people this way
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老 can also form polysyllabic words! For example, 老百姓 the civilian; 老好人.
There's also an interesting expression with 阿 to know:阿猫阿狗. It literally means little kittens and little doggies. It describes a worthless person nowadays.