Childrens parent-child room

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This post is a follow-up to "Nordic amorous room" (5/5/21).  In the comments to that post, cliff arroyo remarked:

I feel like a dope for being the one who has to ask, but….

"Childrens parent-child room"


He was referring to another part of the sign on which "Nordic amorous room" appears, which you can see by clicking on the title above.  I replied to him:

I was hoping that no one would ask the question that cliff arroyo did, because it's nettlesome, but since he did, I started working on a reply to it early this morning. Now that John Swindle has given us one idea of how to explain the conundrum, I feel all the more compelled to do so. Will post by this evening — within about nine hours.

The part of the sign now in question reads:

Értóng qīnzǐ fáng 儿童亲子房

"Childrens parent-child room"

The English translation comes directly from Google Translate, Baidu Fanyi, and Microsoft Bing Translator, except that they know enough to add the possessive apostrophe where it is called for:

"Children's parent-child room"

If you take away the "fáng 房" ("room"), GT gives "child parenting", which sounds a bit better.

Actually, before I read the English translation, I already suspected that something was amiss with the Chinese.  "Értóng qīnzǐ fáng 儿童亲子房" doesn't sound like good Chinese to me, so we can't blame the odd English on the machine translators in this case.  Indeed, the Chinese seems to be unidiomatic and perhaps even partially redundant.

I think I know what they're trying to say:  "rooms for parents and children", "rooms for parenting", or words to that effect, but the way they put it in Chinese seems awkward and maybe even illogical.  The wording just comes across as strange.  Nonetheless, that exact expression occurs 11,700 times on Google, though often broken up as "…儿童,亲子房", so all those occurrences don't count, reducing the number by about one third.

I asked several of my Chinese graduate students and friends their opinion.  Here are some of the responses I received:


Értóng qīnzǐ fáng 儿童亲子房 sounds ‘redundant’? In Taiwan, they use constructions such as XXX jiàoshì 教室, e.g., qīnzǐ jiàoshì 亲子教室 ('children-friendly classroom'). So, for a hotel to promote ‘children-friendly’ rooms, maybe they can be called qīnzǐ fáng 亲子房? Quite tricky. Look forward to others’ comments :-)


My first impression — it is redundant, and confusing because értóng fáng 儿童房 and qīnzǐ fáng 親子房 can be two different things. I am not sure how the English translation "parent-child room" sounds to native ears. But I would probably have it as simply "family room" (compromising some specificity, though). Based on what comes next I would guess this comes from some lazy hotel's signs of different types/styles of rooms, so maybe the értóng qīnzǐ fáng 兒童親子房 just means rooms that can accommodate parents and children, as you say.


"Értóng qīnzǐ fáng 儿童亲子房" sounds very confusing to me even as a native speaker, mainly because I can't tell whether it's more about 儿童 or 亲子, and I can't figure out its morphological structure. Upon first glance, I was thinking about a room for parenting, or a room for a family to spend time together, or a room for children's entertainment where parents can keep the kids company. After I saw the picture, I gathered it might be a hotel where there are FAMILY ROOMS (rooms for parents and kids) on the 6th–8th floors, and there are hotel rooms with Nordic-style decorations/in Scandinavian design on 9th–14th floors ("Nordic amorous" –– OH MY! What a translation LOL!)––that's my guess:D.
This oddly-worded locution "Értóng qīnzǐ fáng 儿童亲子房" reminds me of a sign I saw several years ago in a grocery store in Beijing: It was selling 肉松 ("rousong", or meat floss) there, and there were signs including "鸡肉肉松" (chicken floss), "猪肉肉松" (pork floss), and, "儿童肉松"(literally, "children floss")! I could tell it was referring to a specific kind of meat floss for children('s good health), but it could be somehow misleading hahaha!

Selected reading


[Thanks to Yijie Zhang, Zihan Guo, Lin Zhang, Chenfeng Wang, Tong Wang, Geok Hoon (Janet) Williams, and Selena Zhu]


  1. John Swindle said,

    May 6, 2021 @ 11:22 pm

    Thanks! I was mistaken not only about the furniture store (!) but also about the parents and children.

  2. CF Chang said,

    May 7, 2021 @ 2:20 am

    A possible terrible misinterpretation is "儿童//亲//子房", lit. "children kiss (plant) ovary."
    Luckily this did not happen.

  3. cliff arroyo said,

    May 7, 2021 @ 12:09 pm

    "I was hoping that no one would ask the question that cliff arroyo did"

    That guy is such a jerk!
    It's very nice of you to take the trouble to try to answer it though.

    I'm still not entirely sure if it's a type of room in a hotel or more of a living room section in a furniture store, but apparently other people aren't either…

  4. Victor Mair said,

    May 7, 2021 @ 2:02 pm


    My first impression of 儿童亲子房 is close to "a room for parenting". This kind of room is often set somewhere in shopping malls close to the washroom, usually for moms to nurse their baby, which is kind of same as North America. But for years of shopping in China I have hardly seen exactly the expression 儿童亲子房 in such cases. They would usually just call it 亲子室.

    Another case I have in mind are places such as airports; some would quite likely call such an area exactly 儿童亲子房. It is designed for kids during the waiting period for the flight with an open playroom, very different from the ones in the malls that maintain privacy. I have attached pictures. [VHM: omitted here, but I can send to someone who is really interested in seeing what they look like.]

    I believe that it could also mean "child's bedroom with the style of 亲子主题". So far as I know many expensive hotels would have this style of rooms to satisfy the customer. I don't doubt that many people would design one of their rooms similar to this idea at home too.

    Back in to the language, I think that either 儿童房 or 亲子房 is enough for what they trying to say. I think that people in China do not actually care that much what words they use as a matter of language, since the type of the room is considered based on the location. Some places might want it to look fancy, so they might combine the names to make them sound more 高大上 (popular abbreviation in China that means 高端,大气,上档次), whereas in some places, awkward usage might just be a simple lack of language skill. I have seen way more terrifying translation in China. When I traveled to Hangzhou 3 years ago I saw they put "Arrival" under 出发 and "Departure" under 到达), therefore I wouldn't be surprised for any random combination of words that is used in China.

  5. Bathrobe said,

    May 7, 2021 @ 10:11 pm

    When I traveled to Hangzhou 3 years ago

    You mean they let you in the country?

    I'm just wondering how much of a thorn in the side of the Chinese government you have to be before they'll start denying you a visa. Some notable scholars have been banned (for instance, Perry Link, if I remember rightly).

  6. Victor Mair said,

    May 8, 2021 @ 7:45 am


    That bit about travelling to Hangzhou was written by one of our M.A. students ("4"), who is a citizen of the PRC.

    Though I went to China more than a hundred times between 1981 and November, 2012, I personally have not been in the PRC since November, 2012 — the ascension of Xi Jinping. You can guess why.

  7. Victor Mair said,

    May 8, 2021 @ 9:47 am

    5. (a humanities Ph.D.)

    儿童亲子房 is very odd. It has to be either 儿童房(children's room) or 亲子房 (a room for parents and children). This is definitely a misuse and should be corrected even if it appears in the writing of a primary school student.

  8. Victor Mair said,

    May 8, 2021 @ 1:34 pm


    Actually I didn't see this word used anywhere before, and it definitely sounds weird to me. I think the Chinese word "儿童亲子房" is also 不通, since it's kind of repetitive. I think the right way to say this is either "儿童房" or "亲子房" (nursery room / children's room // family room?).

  9. Victor Mair said,

    May 8, 2021 @ 2:26 pm


    First of all, I think the Chinese version is not correct; the room should be exclusively for children or for the parent-children; the juxtaposition sounds weird to me. “儿童房” or “亲子房” look better. And that’s why the English translation “Children’s parent-child room” does not work.

    I feel like the commercial activities and advertisements really drive the deterioration of our language, both in English and in Chinese. The hotel may be trying to offer “fancy” Chinese here, but ends up being stupid, like many other cases. As a Chinese person born in China, I have never seen “儿童亲子房” before and I think it is a rare case rather than commonly used in hotels in China.

  10. David C. said,

    May 9, 2021 @ 11:24 am

    The keywords yield just one hotel in Beidaihe in the city of Qinhuangdao, called 汐溪的孩子·亲子酒店 . The repetitive 儿童亲子房 is likely an (awkward) attempt to maintain a length of five characters, and to emphasize that the rooms have beds for both children and their parents.

    For those who are interested, you can see what the child-friendly and Nordic style hotel rooms look like here. The Nordic-style room is roughly the sixth picture down.

  11. John Swindle said,

    May 10, 2021 @ 2:52 am

    The problem with 儿童亲子房 is both how to understand it and how to translate it. Can it mean something coherent in English if it's incoherent in Chinese? After reading the reactions of your students and friends I wonder whether "childrens parent-child room" may grate on the English-speaking mind just enough to be an appropriate translation of the original.

  12. Philip Taylor said,

    May 10, 2021 @ 9:20 am

    I confess to having a little trouble with the concept of "roughly the sixth picture down". Is the room to which you were referring, David, this one ?

  13. David C. said,

    May 10, 2021 @ 3:23 pm

    @Philip Taylor – that's the one. I wasn't sure which picture would count as the first from the top – the one in the header or the first one in the body.

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