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【Learn Chinese】Chinese Lesson: The Chinese Family Tree (P
As if learning Mandarin Chinese wasn’t difficult enough, with the thousands of characters and the five tones to deal with, they had to have a crazy large number of words to describe family members.
Whereas in English we can condense it down to something much easier to understand, it isn’t the case with Mandarin.
The complicated Chinese family tree is one that leaves you scratching your head, but don’t worry. We’ve prepared this superb guide which will help you very much along the way!
Let’s start with how to say aunt and uncle in Chinese. You need to know, if it’s your relative from your mom’s or dad’s side and if he or she is your mom’s/dad’s older or younger brother or sister. Sounds complicated?
First, how to say uncle:
Dad’s Side:
Older brother – 伯伯 (Bóbo)
Younger brother – 叔叔 (Shūshu)
Older sister’s husband – 姑父 (Gūfù)
Younger sister’s husband – 姑父 (Gūfù)
Mum’s Side:
Older or younger brother –舅舅 (Jiùjiu)
Next, how to say aunt:
Dad’s Side:
Older sister – 姑妈 (Gūmā)
Younger sister – 姑姑 (Gūgu)
Older brother’s wife – 伯母 (Bómǔ)
Younger brother’s wife – 婶婶 (Shěnshen)
Mum’s Side:
Older sister – 姨妈 (Yímā)
Younger sister – 阿姨 (Āyí)
Brother’s wife – 舅母 (Jiùmǔ)
It’s getting more complicated with the cousins…
Dad’s Side:
Dad’s Brother’s/sister’s son (if older than you) – 堂兄 (Táng xiōng)
Brother’s/sister’s son (if younger than you) – 堂弟 (Táng dì)
Brother’s/sister’s daughter (if older than you) – 堂姐 (Táng jiě)
Brother’s/sister’s daughter (if younger than you) – 堂妹 (Táng Mèi)
Mum’s Side:
Mum’s Brother’s/sisters’s son (if older than you) –表哥 (Biǎo gē)
Brother’s/sister’s son (if younger than you) – 表弟 (Biǎo dì)
Brother’s/sister’s daughter (if older than you) – 表姐 (Biǎo jiě)
Brother’s/sister’s daughter (if younger than you) – 表妹 (Biǎo mèi)
And finally, how to talk about your In-Laws:
Husband’s father – 公公 (gōnggong)
Wife’s father – 岳父 (yuèfù)
Husband’s mother – 婆婆 (pópo)
Wife’s mother – 岳母 (yuèmǔ)
Your older sister’s husband – 姐夫 (Jiěfū)
Your younger sister’s husband – 妹夫 (Mèifū)
Your older brother’s wife – 嫂子 (Sǎo zi)
Your younger brother’s wife – 弟妹 (Dìmèi)