Vietnamese Vocabulary For Family

If you are invited to visit a Vietnamese family, you might be overwhelmed when people call their family members with different phrases. Let’s spend some time today learning Vietnamese vocabulary for family members so you understand more about their relationship and the Vietnamese culture.

What Are Vietnamese Families Like?

In Vietnam, the family unit is very important. Family members and relatives usually keep close contact and live near each other. They also support each other when there is a family event. For example, relatives come and help organize a wedding party for a new couple.

In a Vietnamese family tree, there are several immediate families (nhà). The members who are in the same family tree but not in an immediate family are called ‘họ’ (extended family).

The immediate family usually comprises a husband, a wife, and one or more than one child. Children usually receive the family name from the dad. The wife doesn’t change her family name after marriage.

In an extended family, you can find many members who have the same family name such as Nguyễn, Phạm or Đỗ. In Vietnamese, there is a specific phrase to call each family member in an extended family.


How Do You Call Family Members In Vietnamese?

There are 5 dialects in Vietnamese but 3 of them are the main ones including Northern, Central, and Southern dialects which are abbreviated as NV, CV, and SV accordingly in this article.

Now is the time to learn words for a family in the Vietnamese language.

  • Parents: Cha mẹ
  • Father: Cha, bố/thầy (NV), bọ (CV), ba/tía (SV)
  • Mother: Mẹ, u (NV), mạ/mệ (CV), má (SV)
  • Daughter: Con gái
  • Son: Con trai
  • Older sister: Chị gái
  • Younger sister: Em gái
  • Older brother: Anh trai
  • Younger brother: Em trai
  • Siblings: Anh chị em ruột
  • Cousin: Anh chị em họ
  • Grandfather (Father’s dad): Ông nội, nội (SV)
  • Grandfather (Mom’s dad): Ông ngoại, ngoại (SV)
  • Grandmother (Father’s mom): Bà nội, nội (SV)
  • Grandmother (Mother’s mom): Bà ngoại, ngoại (SV)
  • Father’s younger brother (Uncle): Chú
  • Father’s older brother (Uncle): Bác
  • Father’s younger sister (Aunt): Cô, o (CV)
  • Father’s older sister (Aunt): Bác
  • Mother’s younger brother: Cậu
  • Mother’s older brother: Bác, bá
  • Mother’s younger sister: Dì
  • Mother’s older sister: Bác, bá
  • Wife: vợ
  • Husband: chồng
  • Brothers: Anh em trai
  • Niece: Cháu gái
  • Nephew: Cháu trai
  • Grandchildren: Cháu
  • Granddaughter: Cháu gái
  • Grandson: Cháu trai
  • Great-grandparent: Cụ
  • Great-grandchildren: Chắt
  • Sister-in-law: Chị dâu (older), Em dâu (younger)
  • Brother-in-law: Anh rể (older), Em rể (younger)
  • Daughter-in-law: Con dâu
  • Son-in-law: Con rể
  • Father-in-law (husband’s dad): Cha chồng, bố chồng (NV)
  • Mother-in-law (husband’s mom): Mẹ chồng
  • Father-in-law (wife’s dad): Cha vợ, bố vợ (NV)
  • Mother-in-law (wife’s mom): Mẹ vợ


Other Vietnamese Words For Family

  • Family: Gia đình
  • Family members: Người nhà, người trong gia đình
  • Relatives: Họ hàng
  • Men who get married to sisters in the same immediate family: Anh em đồng hao
  • Family tree: Gia phả
  • Husband’s side: Bên chồng, nhà chồng
  • Wife’s side: Bên vợ, nhà vợ
  • Ancestor: Tổ tiên


Family Culture In Vietnam

In Vietnamese society, family culture or family tradition is very important and has a huge affection on the life of individuals. Children usually live near their parents or sometimes live with their parents even when they grow up and get married. Listening to and taking parents’ advice is considered a good attitude that children should have in Vietnam.

Parents or older members in an extended family usually play an important role in big events of the family such as a wedding tradition or a big family gathering. For example, when a couple wants to get married, they will talk with their parents and ask for their permission first. If the parents of both sides agree, the parents of the male person will bring some gifts to the family of the female person to talk about the wedding. After that, they will have an official pre-wedding visit (called ‘Lễ ăn hỏi’) with more gifts required by the bride’s side. Parents usually support or sometimes pay for the wedding party. This tradition has changed nowadays as some couples can afford their wedding party.

In an immediate family, the husband tends to be the decision-maker but he will discuss and consult with the wife, especially about financial-related things. Women usually take care of the housework and manage the family’s money budget.

When parents get old, children often take care of them rather than send them to a retirement home. The first son is considered the main person who takes this responsibility. He and his family are also responsible for the ancestor’s altar and celebrating the family’s traditions such as the Tet holiday (Lunar New Year holiday), funeral.

Final Thoughts

Family plays an important role in each Vietnamese person as well as in Vietnamese society. Knowing vocabulary for family members in Vietnamese helps you understand the relationship between them, their position, and their power in a family. This also helps you greet Vietnamese people more properly when you visit a Vietnamese family.

Remember to learn more Vietnamese phrases and sentences from basic to advanced with the Ling App to get ready for your visit.

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