Why should you learn family vocabulary in Tamil? In countries where Tamil is spoken (India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia), the family unit is a central part of life.
When you visit a home where Tamil is spoken, it is respectful to know how to address each person in the family. Furthermore, since the extended family is influential, you should know how to address all the cousins, brother-in-laws, and uncles too!
Learning Tamil vocabulary for family should be one of your first tasks in learning the language. Don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed … if you practice the pronunciation a few times a day, you’ll tell the difference between all the vocabulary in no time. Let’s begin!
The Family Unit In Sri Lankan Culture
Although Tamil is spoken in many countries around the world, it has the highest percentage of speakers (from the total population) in Sri Lanka. So let’s learn more about Sri Lankan family culture before we dive into the Tamil vocabulary.
Sri Lanka has a collectivist culture, which means that the family unit and the interests of the community are more important than an individual’s wishes or desires. Other examples of collectivist societies are in Mexico and Turkey. This means that loyalty to one’s family is of the utmost importance to Sri Lankans. Though most of this loyalty is to one’s nuclear family, connections to the extended family are still cherished. The perception of the family lies in each member, and upholding a good image is important.
It is common to see paternal grandparents live with their grandchildren and children. In a traditional Sri Lankan household, the father or oldest son is the patriarch, though the mother is still highly respected. Unlike in some western societies, age is a token of esteem and reverence. Elders are to be highly respected and cared for by their family.
Interesting fact: Sri Lankans avoid the use of personal names to address someone. They prefer nicknames or general relationship names (‘aunty’ & ‘uncle,’ for example).
Like in other South Asian countries, arranged marriages are common. Though, more and more couples in the modern day are choosing ‘love marriages.’ No matter an arranged marriage or love marriage, the two people must be from the same religion, socioeconomic background, and ethnicity. There are also expectations for the man to be older, and have qualifications to provide for his new bride. Sri Lanka has a traditional patriarchal, collectivist society.
Family is #1 priority in Sri Lanka. If you wish to learn Tamil, it’s important to have the right vocabulary to address people around the nuclear and extended family. Keep reading to get started!
Tamil Vocabulary For Family Members
First, let’s learn Tamil vocabulary for the nuclear family. These are the people who you will most often see in one household.
|Cousin (male)||பெரியப்பா, சித்தியின் மகன்||Periyappā, cittiyiṉ makaṉ|
|Cousin (female)||பெரியப்பா, சித்தியின் மகள்||Periyappā, cittiyiṉ makaḷ|
More Useful Tamil Family Vocabulary
Now, let’s learn more useful vocabulary for families in Tamil. These are the people who you may see less often, but are still important in the lives of a collectivist society.
|Fiance||வருங்கால மனைவி||Varuṅkāla maṉaivi|
|Younger brother||இளைய சகோதரர்||Iḷaiya cakōtarar|
|Older brother||மூத்த சகோதரர்||Mūtta cakōtarar|
|Younger sister||இளைய சகோதரி||Iḷaiya cakōtari|
|Older sister||மூத்த சகோதரி||Mūtta cakōtari|
|Great grandmother||பெரிய பாட்டி||Periya pāṭṭi|
|Great grandfather||பெரிய தாத்தா||Periya tāttā|
|Great granddaughter||பெரிய பேத்தி||Periya pētti|
How To Talk About Your Family In Tamil: Example Sentences
Example Sentence #1:
English: There are ______ members in my family.
Pronunciation: Engaloda kudumbaththula ______ paeru irukkoam.
Tamil: எங்களோட குடும்பத்துல ______ பேரு இருக்கோம்.
Want to learn numbers in Tamil? Check out our guide here.
Example Sentence #2:
English: She is my mother.
Pronunciation: Ivargal ennudaiya ammaa.
Tamil: இவர்கள் என்னுடைய அம்மா.
Example Sentence #3:
English: This is my wife.
Pronunciation: itu eṉṉuṭaiya maṉaivi
Tamil: இது என்னுடைய மனைவி
Example Sentence #4:
English: How old is your sister?
Pronunciation: Uṅkaḷuṭaiya akkāviṉ vayatu eṉṉa?
Tamil: உங்களுடைய அக்காவின் வயது என்ன?
Example Sentence #5:
English: This is my younger sister.
Pronunciation: Ival ennudaiya thangai.
Tamil: இவள் என்னுடைய தங்கை.
Example Sentence #6:
English: She is our grandmother.
Pronunciation: Avargal engaludaiya paatti.
Tamil: அவர்கள் எங்களுடைய பாட்டி.
Example Sentence #7:
English: I lost my mother.
Pronunciation: Eṉ tāyai iḻantēṉ.
Tamil: என் தாயை இழந்தேன்.
Example Sentence #8:
English: Your daughter is very cute!
Pronunciation: Uṅkaḷuṭaiya makaḷ mikavum aḻakāka irukkiṟāḷ
Tamil: உங்களுடைய மகள் மிகவும் அழகாக இருக்கிறாள்
Example Sentence #9:
English: This is our family.
Pronunciation: Idhu engaloda kudumbam.
Tamil: இது எங்களோட குடும்பம்.
Example Sentence #10:
English: My brother and I are friends.
Pronunciation: Naanum ennudaiya thambiyum nanbargal.
Tamil: நானும் என்னுடைய தம்பியும் நண்பர்கள்.
Final Thoughts On Family Vocabulary In Tamil
That wasn’t so hard, right? Though Tamil is a difficult language to learn, if you take it slowly & step-by-step, you will be successful.
Practice these words and phrases and you will be ready for your first South Asian family gathering! Good luck, you got this!
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