Family and Kinship Terms And Why It's Important For Children

Family and Kinship Terms And Why It's Important For Children

We explore the names of family members in different languages, from English, Malay to even Filipino and Korean.

It doesn’t come as surprise that the first role models children have, are often close family members.

While learning how to navigate the world, children look to family relationships for cues—just like how little ones often copy the gestures of mum and dad, or those of their siblings.

When children engage in family activities and get to know more about their family members (and the relationships they share), it helps them to further develop their social skills, create meaningful and healthier connections in their lives.

One great way to start is by introducing children to the various kinship terms to help foster a sense of familiarity in them. 

In the rest of the article, we explore the names of family members in different languages, from English, Malay to even Filipino and Korean. Doing so also teaches them respect and manners as they would have to apply these terms appropriately and consciously to the respective family members.

Names of Family Members To Teach Children

Family and Kinship Terms And Why It's Important For Children

Names of family members are often used to express endearment, and help foster closer bonds among family members, or even with the community. | Image source: iStock

English

Male Female
Father Mother
Husband Wife
Grandfather Grandmother
Great-grandfather Great-grandmother
Son Daughter
Brother Sister
Uncle Aunt
Nephew Niece
Cousin Cousin
Father-in-law Mother-in-law
Son-in-law Daughter-in-law

Mandarin

Male Female
Father 爸爸 (bàba) Mother 妈妈 (māma)
Husband 丈夫 (Zhàngfū) or 老公 (lǎogōng) Wife 妻子 (Qīzi) or 老婆 (lǎopó)
Grandfather on Mum’s side  外公 (wàigōng) Grandmother on Mum’s side 外婆 (wàipó)
Grandfather on Dad’s side  爷爷 (Yéyé) Grandmother on Dad’s side 奶奶 (Nǎinai)
Great-grandfather 曾祖父 (Zēngzǔfù) Great-grandmother 曾祖母 (Zēngzǔmǔ)
Son 儿子 (Érzi) Daughter 女儿 (Nǚ’ér)
Older Brother 哥哥 (Gēgē) Older Sister 姐姐 (Jiějiě)
Younger Brother 弟弟 (Dìdì) Younger Sister 妹妹 (Mèimei)
Dad’s older brother 伯伯 (Bóbo) Mum’s older or younger brother 舅舅 (Jiùjiu)
Dad’s younger brother 叔叔 (Shūshu)
Dad’s older sister 姑妈 (Gūmā) Mum’s older sister 姨妈 (Yímā)
Dad’s younger  sister 姑姑 (Gūgū) Mum’s younger sister 阿姨 (Āyí)
Nephew, Brother’s son 姪子 (zhízi) Niece, Brother’s daughter 姪女 (zhínǚ)
Nephew, Sister’s son 外甥 (wàishēng) Niece, Sister’s daughter 外甥女 (wàishengnǚ)

 

Cousin, Dad’s sibling’s son (if older than you) 

堂兄 (Táng xiōng)

Cousin, Dad’s sibling’s daughter (if older than you) 

堂姐 (Táng jiě)

Cousin, Dad’s sibling’s son (if younger than you)

堂弟 (Táng dì) Cousin, Dad’s sibling’s daughter (if younger than you) 堂妹 (Táng Mèi)

Cousin, Mom’s sibling’s son (if older than you)

表哥 (Biǎo gē) Cousin, Mom’s sibling’s daughter (if older than you) 表姐 (Biǎo jiě)

Cousin, Mom’s sibling’s son (if younger than you)

表弟 (Biǎo dì) Cousin, Mom’s sibling’s daughter (if younger than you) 表妹 (Biǎo mèi)
Husband’s father (Father-in-law)

公公 (gōnggong)

Husband’s mother (Mother-in-law)

婆婆 (pópo)

Wife’s father (Father-in-law)

岳父 (yuèfù)

Wife’s mother (Mother-in-law)

 岳母 (yuèmǔ)

Son-in-law 女婿 (Nǚxù) Daughter-in-law 媳妇 (Xífù)
Your older sister’s husband (Brother-in-law)

姐夫 (Jiěfū)

Your older brother’s wife (Sister-in-law)

嫂子 (Sǎo zi)

 

Your younger sister’s husband (Brother-in-law)

妹夫 (Mèifū)

Your younger brother’s wife (Sister-in-law)

弟妇 (Dìfù)

Malay

Male
Female
Father Bapa Mother Ibu
Husband Suami Wife Isteri
Grandfather Datuk Grandmother Nenek
Great-grandfather Moyang Great-grandmother Moyang
Son Anak Lelaki Daughter Anak perempuan
Brother
  • Saudara (frm)
  • Abang (older)
  • Adik (lelaki) (younger)
Sister
  • Saudari (frm)
  • Kakak (older)
  • Adik (perempuan) (younger)
Uncle
  • Bapa saudara (frm)
  • Pak long (parent’s eldest brother)
  • Pak ngah (parent’s second oldest brother)
  • Pak ucu/pak su (parent’s youngest brother)
  • Pak cik (generic)
Aunt
  • Ibu saudara (frm)
  • Mak long (parent’s eldest sister)
  • Mak ngah (parent’s second oldest sister)
  • Mak ucu/pak su (parent’s youngest sister)
  • Mak cik (generic)
Nephew Anak saudara  Niece Anak saudara 
Cousin
  • Pupu (generic)
  • Sepupu (first cousin)
  • Dua pupu (second cousin)
  • Tiga pupu (third cousin)
Father-in-law Bapa mertua Mother-in-law Ibu mertua
Son-in-law Menantu Daughter-in-law Menantu perempuan
Brother-in-law
  • Abang ipar (spouse’s older brother)
  • Adik ipar (spouse’s younger brother)
Sister-in-law
  • Kakak ipar (spouse’s older sister)
  • Adik ipar (spouse’s younger sister)

Tamil 

Male
Female
Father அப்பா (Appā) Mother அம்மா (Am’mā)
Husband கணவர் (Kaṇavar) Wife மனைவி (Maṉaivi)
Grandfather தாத்தா (Tāttā) Grandmother பாட்டி (Pāṭṭi)
Great-grandfather கொள்ளுத் தாத்தா (Koḷḷut tāttā) Great-grandmother கொள்ளுப் பாட்டி (Koḷḷup pāṭṭi)
Son மகன் (Makaṉ) Daughter மகள் (Makaḷ)
Brother சகோதரர் (Cakōtarar) Sister சகோதரி (Cakōtari)
Elder Brother அண்ணன் (Aṇṇaṉ) Elder Sister அக்கா (Akkā)
Younger Brother தம்பி (Tampi) Younger Sister தங்கை (Taṅkai)
Maternal Uncle மாமா (தாய் மாமா ) – Māmā (tāy māmā) Aunty அத்தை , சித்தி , மாமி , பெரியம்மா – Attai, citti, māmi, periyam’mā
Paternal Uncle பெரியப்பா , சித்தப்பா – Periyappā, cittappā
Nephew  அண்ணன் , தம்பி , அக்காள் , தங்கை – இவர்களின் மகன் Aṇṇaṉ, tampi, akkāḷ, taṅkai – ivarkaḷiṉ makaṉ (brother’s, sister’s son) Niece  அண்ணன் , தம்பி , அக்காள் , தங்கை – இவர்களின் மகள் Aṇṇaṉ, tampi, akkāḷ, taṅkai – ivarkaḷiṉ makaḷ (brother’s, sister’s daughter)
Cousin அத்தை , மாமா – இவர்களின் மகன் , மகள் (Attai, māmā – ivarkaḷiṉ makaṉ, makaḷ) – athai, mama’s son, daughter
Father-in-law மாமனார் (Māmaṉār) Mother-in-law மாமியார் (Māmiyār)
Son-in-law மருமகன் (Marumakaṉ) Daughter-in-law மருமகள் (Marumakaḷ)
Brother-in-law மைத்துனர் (கணவரின் or மனைவியின் – அண்ணன் , தம்பி ) – maithunar (husband’s or wife’s – elder or younger brother) Sister-in-law நாத்தனார் or மைத்துனி (கணவரின் or மனைவியின் -அக்கா , தங்கை ) – naathanar or maithuni (husband’s or wife’s elder/younger sister)

Filipino

Male
Female
Father ama Mother ina
Grandfather lolo Grandmother lola
Great-grandfather lolo sa tuhod Great-grandmother lola sa tuhod
Son anak na lalaki Daughter anak na babae
Brother
  • kapatid na lalaki
  • nakababatang kapatid na lalaki (younger brother)
  • kuya (older brother)
Sister
  • kapatid na babae
  • nakababatang kapatid na babae (younger sister)
  • Ate (older sister)
Uncle tiyuhin Aunt tiyahin
Nephew pamangking lalaki Niece pamangking babae
Cousin pinsan
Father-in-law biyenan na lalaki Mother-in-law biyenan na babae
Son-in-law manugang na lalaki Daughter-in-law manugang na babae
Brother-in-law bayaw Sister-in-law hipag
       

Indonesian

Male
Female
Father Bapak, ayah Mother ibu
Husband Suami Wife Istri
Grandfather grand father Grandmother grandmother
Great-grandfather   Great-grandmother nenek moyang
Son Anak laki-laki Daughter Anak perempuan
Brother
  • Kakak, abang, mas (older brother)
  • Abang/Bang (when you call someone older)
  • Adik laki-laki (younger brother)
Sister
  • Kakak, Mbak (older sister)
  • Mbak (when you call someone older)
  • Adik perempuan (younger sister)
Uncle Paman Aunt Bibi
Nephew Keponakan laki-laki Niece Keponakan perempuan
Cousin Sepupu
Father-in-law Ayah mertua Mother-in-law Ibu mertua
Son-in-law Menantu Daughter-in-law Menantu perempuan
Brother-in-law Ipar laki-laki Sister-in-law Ipar perempuan

Korean

Male
Female
Father/Dad 아버지/아빠 [A-buh-ji/Appa] Mother/Mum 어머니/엄마 [Uh-muh-ni/Omma]
Husband

남편 [nampyeon]

Wife

부인 [buin]

Grandparents 조부모님 [Jo-boo-mo-nim]
Grandfather 할아버지 [Hal-ah-buh-ji] Grandmother 할머니 [Hal-muh-ni]
Great-grandfather 증조부 [Jeung-jo-bu] Great-grandmother 증조모 [Jeung-jo-mo]
Son 아들 [A-dul] Daughter 딸 [Ddal]
Brothers

형제 [Hyung-jae]

Sisters

자매 [Ja-mae] 

Younger Brother

남동생 [nam-dong-saeng]

Younger Sister

여동생 [yeo-dong-saeng]

Older brother (used by a younger female sibling) 오빠 [Oppa] Older sister (used by a younger female sibling) 언니 [Un-ni]
Older brother (used by a younger male sibling) 형 [Hyung] Older sister (used by a younger male sibling) 누나 [Nu-na]
Uncle (Your mother’s brother) 삼촌 [Saam-chon] 

Aunt (Your mother’s sister)

이모 [Imo] 
Uncle (Your father’s older brother) 큰아버지 [Kun-a-buh-ji]

Aunt (Your father’s sister)

고모 [Go-mo]
Uncle (Your father’s younger brother) 작은아버지 [Jakun-a-buh-ji]

 

 
Nephew/Niece (gender-neutral) 조카 [Jo-kah]
Cousin (in general) 사촌 [Sa-chon]
Father-in-law
(husband’s side)
아버님 (abeonim)  Mother-in-law
(husband’s side)
어머님 (eomeonim)
Father-in-law
(wife’s side)
장인 어른 (jangin eoreun) Mother-in-law
(wife’s side)
장모님 (jangmonim)
Relative by marriage
in-laws
사돈 (sadon)
Brother-in-law
(husband’s side)
형님 (hyeongnim)
도련님 (doryeonnim)
서방님 (seobangnim)
Sister-in-law
(husband’s side)
동서 (dongseo)
아가씨 (agassi) 
Brother-in-law
(wife’s side)
처남 (cheonam) Sister-in-law
(wife’s side)
처제 (cheoje)

We hope you have enjoyed this list of names of family members to teach children, and have picked up some useful terms. In many cultures, these terms are used to express endearment, and children who identify with family members gain a greater understanding of their place in the world.

Family and Kinship Terms And Why It's Important For Children

Image source: iStock

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Family and Kinship Terms And Why It's Important For Children

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Written by

Jia Ling

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