30+ Essential Vocabulary For Family In Turkish To Perfection

A Turkish family having breakfast together

Find out how Turkish people address their family members and relatives by learning the essential vocabulary for the family in Turkish!

Family in Turkish culture is the backbone of society. Maintaining good relationships with family members is one of the significant values for Turkish people. If you have a Turkish friend, you must have noticed that they hold a stronger bond with their family than people from a Western culture.

Let me lay it out further. Unlike in the US, parents do not expect their children to move out of the family home once they turn eighteen. As a matter of fact, they don’t do it until they get married, which is pretty typical in Turkey.

Eating together as a whole family at home, whether it is breakfast or dinner, is vital in Turkish culture. I remember many times that my parents got mad when I was absent at the dinner table. They just don’t accept it unless you feel too bad to eat something.

Another cultural difference is that you can call your parents by their first names in Western culture; however, it would be disrespectful of you to do that in Turkey. Turkish people always call their parents mom and dad; the other way around is out of the question.

After providing you with cultural information about the family in Turkish culture, now it’s time to learn vocabulary about family members in the Turkish language.

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Who To Call Abi/Abla In Turkish?

In English, a female sibling is called a sister, but you don’t actually address her as sister as you address her by her first name instead. It doesn’t matter if she is older than you.

However, it is a bit different in Turkish. Sister means “kız kardeş” in Turkish, regardless of age, so it refers to a female sibling. But if you have an older sister, you should address her as “abla” in Turkish. If you have a younger sister, it’s okay to address her by her first name.

Two brothers are sitting together - Family In Turkish

Similarly, a male sibling is called a brother, but you don’t actually address him as a brother in English, as you address him by his first name instead. It doesn’t matter if he is older than you.

However, brother means “erkek kardeş” in Turkish, regardless of age, so it refers to a male sibling. But if you have an older brother, you should address him as “abi” in Turkish. If you have a younger brother, it’s okay to address him by his first name.

P.S. Turkish people can also address older people as “abi/abla.” For example, if you have a neighbor ten years older, you shouldn’t address them by their first name.


Mother’s Side VS Father’s Side

In Turkish, there are different nouns to address some relatives from the mother’s and father’s sides. For example, the uncle addresses the mother’s and father’s brothers. In that case, Turkish makes you use two different words.

  • Dayı – Uncle (Mother’s brother)
  • Amca – Uncle (Father’s brother)

While the aunt refers to both the mother’s sister and the father’s sister in English, there are two separate words for them in Turkish.

  • Teyze – Aunt (Mother’s sister)
  • Hala – Aunt (Father’s sister)

Similarly, the same thing applies to the grandmother as well.

  • Anneanne – Grandmother (Mother’s mother)
  • Babaanne – Grandmother (Father’s mother)
  • Büyükanne – Grandmother (For both)
  • Dede/Büyükbaba – Grandfather (Mother and father’s father)
  • /

So, the Turkish language pays special attention to this separation between relatives. I think Turkish makes more sense in this case because people can be confused if they’re unfamiliar with your relatives.

A grand family picture - Family In Turkish


Even More Nouns For Relatives!

Did you know that Turkish has two nouns for relatives, which English doesn’t have? What do you call your sister’s husband or brother’s wife in English? Nothing, that’s right! Because you basically call them by their first names. Sorry, but we even have nouns for them in Turkish.

  • Enişte – Your sister’s husband
  • Yenge – Your brother’s wife
  • Baldız – Your wife’s sister
  • Kayınço – Your wife’s brother
  • Görümce – Your husband’s sister
  • Kayın – Your husband’s brother
  • Elti – The wife of your husband’s brother

Don’t feel overwhelmed now! You are not expected to know any of these words as a foreigner because they’re really detailed Turkish words.

The vocabulary you actually need to know is listed right below!


Must-Know Vocabulary For Family In Turkish

BrotherErkek kardeş
SisterKız kardeş
Older brotherAbi
Older sisterAbla
StepchildÜvey çocuk
Foster familyKoruyucu aile

Now, you’ve learned all the vocabulary for family members in Turkish down to the last detail, which may be a bit extra for some of you, but I see no harm in learning more about a topic. If you want to learn Turkish blow-by-blow, you must try the Ling App!


Learn Turkish With Ling App!

If you want to learn the Turkish language or other foreign languages, waste no more time and check out the Ling App to start learning something new today!

Ling App

Ling is a language learning app designed to help all language learners passionate about learning a new language. Ling App consists of various interactive exercises, such as writing and listening exercises, mini quizzes, and an AI chatbot to practice your speaking skills. The Ling App offers you everything to enhance the four primary language skills.

Also, remember to go to Ling’s Turkish blog for new weekly articles about learning Turkish and its culture!

So, what are you waiting for? Try Ling for FREE by downloading it from the App Store or Play Store!

Until next time! Görüşürüz!

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