If you have Latin American friends, I'm sure you have already noticed that they are very close to their families. Learning some basic vocabulary for family members in Spanish will help you tighten your bonds with your Latino friends and their whole household, which is often big.
Family is the most important thing for Latinos. Our culture has been formed so that the family unit is paramount, and everything we do, we do around our family.
Therefore, you may have to interact with them using words about the family. What's more, you won't be saved from all the aunts (aunties) of your friends asking you about your family.
Some of your questions will be: ‘En qué trabaja tu mamá’ (What does your mom do for a living?), or ‘Tienes hermanos? (Do you have siblings?). They might even start asking about your love life (yes, aunties and grandmas want to see everyone happily married).
Enjoy those moments because you will have fun and interesting conversations, even if your language level is limited.
So, why don't you get prepared with some useful vocabulary to learn how to talk about your family members and describe them.
We are lucky that Spanish and English have roots in the Latin language. For this reason, 'Family' is one of the words that are very similar in these two languages.
The literal translation of 'The Family' is 'La Familia.' You can use this term to refer to your family or someone else's.
The following list will be very helpful to learn the family vocabulary in Spanish, its translations into English, and its pronunciation. You will also get examples with each term to understand how to use it in a sentence.
Before starting, you should know that you will also encounter plural terms in this list. Whenever you see a plural term, keep in mind that it refers to both genders: feminine and masculine. If you are not familiar with gender rules in Spanish, I will explain more about this in the first plural term of the list.
Ready? Let's start with the nuclear family, the closest in our family tree.
Example: ‘Mi madre se llama María'/'Mi mamá se llama María.’ (My mother’s name is Maria)
In addition, we often shorten these terms to express affection. For instance, you will often hear people using the following variations: 'Mami,' 'Ma.'
Example: 'Mi padre es bombero' (My dad is a firefighter)
Variations: ‘Pa,’ ‘Papito.’
This word comes from the Latin pater, which means head of the family, patron, or protector.
The plural' parents' refers to both the father and the mother in the Spanish language, though its origin connotes a masculine symbolism.
Remember that in this and the other plural terms, you can be referring to masculine and feminine simultaneously.
Ejemplo: '¿Están tus padres en casa?' (Are your parents home?)
Example: ‘Mi hija toca el violín.’ (My daughter plays the violin)
Example: ‘Tengo un hijo de 6 años.’ (I have a 6 year old son)
Example: 'Tengo cuatro hijos.' (I have four children)
Another example for you to better understand more about gender rules. The word ends in 'os,' which may indicate that it refers to males since 'hijo' means son. But, by saying 'sons' in the plural, you can also be talking about the girls. Similar to how 'children' is a word that refers to both boys and girls.
Example: 'Mi esposa es Italiana.' (My wife is Italian)
Example: 'El esposo de mi prima viaja bastante.' (My cousin's husband travels a lot.)
Another word to say 'Esposo' would be 'Marido.'
Example: 'Tengo una hermana revoltosa.' (I have an unruly sister)
Example: 'El hermano de mi amiga pelea conmigo todo el tiempo.' (My friend's brother fights with me all the time)
This term can refer to both female siblings and male siblings.
Example: 'Tengo dos hermanos.' (I have two siblings)
So, if a person tells you this phrase, you wouldn't be sure if both of them are male or one of them is female. People usually specify that after telling you how many siblings they have.
Example: 'A mi abuela le gusta estar en rodeada por naturaleza.' (My grandmother likes to be surrounded by nature)
Example: 'Mi abuelo me solía contar historias.' (My grandfather used to tell me stories)
Example: 'Mis abuelos viven conmigo.' (My grandparents live with me)
They are part of our family too, aren't they?
Example: 'Tengo una mascota.' (I have a pet)
It comes from the contraction of 'My son' (mi - jo), which means 'my son.' It's an affectionate term for parents to refer to their children or any other child or young person. There is no literal translation, but I will translate it as 'kid.'
Example: 'Mijo, ven a comer!' (Kid, come to eat!)
Example: 'Mija, pórtate bien mientras no estoy.' (Kid, behave yourself while I'm gone)
Example: 'Mi madrastra siempre me trae pastel.' (My stepmother always brings me cake)
Example: 'El padrastro de mi amiga es una buena persona.' (My friend's stepfather is a good person)
Example: 'Mi hijastra me quiere como si fuera su madre.' (My stepdaughter loves me as if I were her mother)
Example: 'Me volví a casar y tengo un hijastro.' (I remarried and have a stepson)
Example: '¿Tienes una hermanastra?' (Do you have a stepsister?)
Example: 'Tengo un hermanastro.' (I have a stepbrother)
Now, let's begin with an extended family vocabulary in Spanish.
Example: 'A mi bisabuela le encantaba cantar.' (My great-grandmother loved to sing)
Example: 'Mi bisabuelo amaba los animals.' (My great-grandfather loved animals)
Example: 'Cuéntame sobre tus bisabuelos.' (Tell me about your great-grandparents)
Example: 'Mi tatarabuela era escritora.' (My great-great-grandmother was a writer.)
Example: 'Mi tatarabuelo era chef.' (My great-great-grandfather was a chef)
Example: 'Me hubiera gustado conocer a mis tatarabuelos.' (I would have liked to meet my great-great-grandparents)
Nieta: '¿Puedo conocer a su nieta?' (May I meet your granddaughter?)
Ejemplo: '¿Cómo se llama su nieto?' (What is your grandson's name?)
Ejemplo: '¡Cómo han crecido sus nietos!' (Your grandchildren have grown so much!)
Ejemplo: 'La bisnieta de la señora la lleva a pasear seguido.' (The lady's great-granddaughter often takes her for a walk)
Bisnieto (Great grandson)
Ejemplo: 'Un bisnieto que pudo conocer a su bisabuela tiene suerte. (A great-grandson who was able to meet his great-grandmother is lucky!
Ejemplo: Mi abuela tiene 6 bisnietos (My grandmother has 6 great-grandchildren)
Ejemplo: 'El tío de mi mamá me enseñó a nadar.' (My mom's uncle taught me to swim)
Ejemplo: Mis tíos siempre vienen a visitar a mi abuela (My uncles always come to visit my grandmother)
Note: This word refers to both uncles and aunties.
Ejemplo: 'Mi tía me llevó de vacaciones a la playa.' (My aunt took me on vacation to the beach)
Ejemplo: 'A las tías les encanta el café de la tarde.' (Aunties love afternoon coffee)
Primo (Male Cousin)
Ejemplo: 'El primo de Patricia juega fútbol.' (Patricia's cousin plays soccer)
Prima: (Female Cousin)
Ejemplo: Mi prima va a la Universidad
Ejemplo: 'I like to play with my cousins.' (Me gusta jugar con mis primos.)
Ejemplo: 'Mi sobrino tiene muchos libros.'
Ejemplo: Todos mis sobrinos son muy educados. (All my nephews are very polite.)
This term can also refer to females.
Ejemplo: A la sobrina de mi amiga le gusta cantar (My friend's niece likes to sing)
Ejemplo: 'Tengo 4 sobrinas que son hijas de mi hermana.' (I have 4 nieces who are my sister's daughters)
If someone is married, their spouse's family becomes an in-law family.
Ejemplo: 'Mi suegra me enseñó a cocinar cuando me casé.' (My mother-in-law taught me how to cook when I got married.)
Ejemplo: Mi suegro nos regaló un vino a mi esposo y a mi por Navidad (My father-in-law gave my husband and me a wine for Christmas)
Ejemplo: 'Mi nuera me cae muy bien.' (I like my daughter-in-law very much)
Ejemplo: 'A mi yerno le encanta comer mariscos.' (My son-in-law loves to eat seafood)
Ejemplo: 'Mi cuñada vive con mi hermano y sus tres gatos.' (My sister-in-law lives with my brother and his three cats)
Ejemplo: 'Mi cuñado va a comprarle una casa a mi hermana.' (My brother-in-law is going to buy my sister a house)
After practicing the list of family members in Spanish, you have significantly boosted your Spanish language knowledge. But you might need to practice more about how to talk about family members with native speakers. So let's dive into some more examples.
With this new vocabulary, you will be able to describe family members easily to your Spanish-speaking friends. Start by saying how many family members are in your house. For example, how many siblings do you have, and what are their names. You can talk about your parents' work. If you are married, you can describe your in-laws as well.
As you expand your Spanish vocabulary, you will be able to have interesting conversations about your relatives.
Look at these following sentences:
If they ask you: 'Cuéntame sobre tu familia,' (Tell me about your family), you'll be ready to answer!
You probably feel that you understand more about Latino and Spanish family members after learning so much vocabulary. That's great! And hopefully, you are even more eager to continue learning more to speak about diverse topics with confidence.
If you are looking to create enriching bonds during your travel to Spanish-speaking countries, you should consider increasing your language level. Begin studying the most common Spanish phrases, Spanish adjectives, and some Spanish slang words.
If you want to soak up as much knowledge as possible, Ling is the perfect resource. Engage in fun lessons that inspire and motivate you to continue learning and become fluent in Spanish.
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