5 Groups Of Important Cantonese Vocabulary For Family

What does a typical family in Cantonese culture look like? Hong Kongers are family-oriented. Most of the families in this country live in nuclear families because of the high cost of living spaces in Hong Kong. But, what’s fantastic about them is they still maintain traditional Chinese concepts like family solidarity and family glory even though there are many influences from Western culture.

Hong Kongers’ family culture is guided by filial piety, which is common in most Southeast Asian countries. In this culture, hierarchal seniority is determined by age, which means, all the family members are expected to show respect to their elders. In fact, they pay respect to their ancestors at least twice a year. There are different ways to pay respect to elders, and one of them is through language. So, let us learn this Cantonese vocabulary for family (家庭  gaa1 ting4 ).

Cantonese Vocabulary for Family How Do You Say Family Members In Cantonese

How Do You Say Family Members In Cantonese?

Just like in other cultures, each family members in the Cantonese culture have their own responsibilities. But, the Cantonese family tree is more complicated than that of other cultures. It may be very daunting to learn at first, but once you’ve got to practice it yourself, you’ll understand it better. What can be confusing at first is that Cantonese terms differ from the maternal or paternal side. But, you don’t have to worry because the terms you’ll learn below have English translations that will help you get through.

You also don’t have to memorize every Cantonese vocabulary for a family written in this post if you are not marrying a local or have a close friend who practices this culture. Instead, you may start learning about the nuclear family and consider other relatives as a bonus.

Cantonese Vocabulary for Family Members In Cantonese Parents

Cantonese Vocabulary For Family: Cantonese Family Tree

1. 父母  (Fu6 Mou5) – Parents

Parents are the heart of every family. Traditionally, the father is the main provider and the head of the family, while the mother takes care of the household. But, in these modern times, women have proven their place in society, so many families in Hong Kong hire a maid to do the house chores while both parents are working.

So, if you want to learn the Cantonese vocabulary for family related to parents, please refer to the words below:

 Father In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Father (formal- written)父親fu6 can1
Father (less formal – both written and spoken)爸爸 baa4 baa1

Mother In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Mother (formal written)母親mou5 can1
Mother (less formal both written and spoken)媽媽maa4 maa1
Cantonese Vocabulary for Family Members In Cantonese Children

2.  孩子 (Haai4 Zi2) (Formal Written) – Children

Children are expected to be respectful and obedient to their parents. Because parents want their children to succeed in life, they provide their children with a quality education. So, if you want to learn Cantonese vocabulary for families related to children, create a room in your mind for these words:

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Children (less formal both written and spoken)小朋友siu2 pang4 jau5
Children less formal both written and spoken)仔女zai2 neoi2
Siblings兄弟姊妹hing1 dai6 zi2 mui6

Son, Younger Brother, Elder Brother, Grandson In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Elder brother哥哥go4 go1
Younger brother弟弟dai4 dai2
Grandson (son’s son)孫仔syun1 zai2
Grandson (daughter’s son)外孫ngoi6 syun1

Daughter, Younger Sister, Elder Sister, Granddaughter In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Elder sister姐姐ze4 ze1
Younger sister妹妹mui4 mui2
Granddaughter (son’s daughter)孫女syun1 neoi2
Granddaughter (daughter’s daughter)外孫女ngoi6 syun1 neoi2

3. Grandparents

Just like what is written above, Cantonese culture is rooted in the Confucian belief – filial piety. Other family members respect Elders. This is also why sending grandparents to the home for the aged is not a practice in Cantonese culture. Elders are expected to be treated with respect, love, and kindness by the family for a lifetime. So, here’s the Cantonese vocabulary for family related to grandparents that you need to know.

Grandfather In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Grandfather (father’s father)爺爺je4 je2
Grandfather (mother’s father)公公gung4 gung1
Grandfather (mother’s father)外公ngoi6 gung1

Grandmother In Cantonese

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Grandmother (father’s mother) 嫲嫲maa4 maa4
Grandmother (mother’s mother)婆婆po4 po2
Grandmother (mother’s mother)外婆ngoi6 po4

4. Relatives (親戚 chānchìk)

Relatives are also valued in the family. Although most Hong Kongers usually live with the nuclear family, the extended family is still important for them as they believe in the concept of family glory. So you’ll bring your family’s reputation to everything you do. This is the part mentioned above where terms depend on the maternal or paternal side.

Brace yourself with more Cantonese vocabulary for family. Of course, this would not be that useful when you’re just traveling, but it would still be great if you had an idea about this.

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Aunt (general)姨姨ji1 ji1
Aunt (mother’s elder sister)姨媽 ji4 maa1
Aunt (mother’s younger sister) 阿姨aa3 ji1
Aunt (mother’s brother’s wife)舅母kau5 mou5
Aunt (father’s elder sister)姑媽gu1 maa1
 Aunt (father’s younger sister)姑姐gu1 ze1
Aunt (father’s elder brother’s wife)伯娘baak3 noeng4
Aunt (father’s younger brother’s wife)阿嬸aa3 sam2
Uncle (general)叔叔suk1 suk1
Uncle (mother’s brother)舅父kau5 fu2
Uncle (mother’s sister’s husband)姨丈ji4 zoeng2
Uncle (father’s elder brother)伯父 baak3 fu6
(father’s younger brother)叔父suk1 fu6 Uncle
Uncle (father’s sister’s husband)姑丈gu1 zoeng2
Nephew (brother’s son)zat6
Nephew (sister’s son)外甥ngoi6 saang1
Niece (brother’s daughter)侄女zat6 neoi2
Niece (sister’s daughter) 外甥女ngoi6 saang1 neoi2  
Elder male cousin (father’s side)堂阿哥tong4 aa3 go1
Elder male cousin (mother’s side)表哥biu2 go1
Younger male cousin (father’s side)堂細佬tong4 sai3 lou2
Younger male cousin (mother’s side) 表弟 biu2 dai2
Elder female cousin (father’s side)堂家姐tong4 gaa1 ze1
Elder female cousin (mother’s side)表姐biu2 ze2
Younger female cousin (father’s side) 堂細妹tong4 sai3 mui2
Younger female cousin (mother’s side)表妹biu2 mui2

5. Terms For Married Couple (夫婦 fu1 fu5)

Last but not least are the terms for married people. Marriage is important in Cantonese culture. Their beliefs and traditions are rooted in the traditional Chinese culture, wherein they believe that family is the most important thing in life. So if you marry someone, you will not only marry that person but their whole family. You have to respect them the way you respect yours. So if you are planning to marry a local, it is essential to learn Cantonese vocabulary for families related to married people.

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
Spouse配偶pui3 ngau5
Husband先生sin1 saang1
Husband丈夫zoeng6 fu1
Wife太太taai3 taai2
Wife妻子cai1 zi2
Mother-in-law (husband’s mother) 奶奶naai4 naai2
Mother-in-law (wife’s mother)外母ngoi6 mou2
Father-in-law (husband’s father)老爺lou5 je4
Father-in-law (wife’s father)外父ngoi6 fu2
Son-in-law女婿neoi5 sai3
Daughter-in-law新抱san1 pou5
Sister-in-law (elder brother’s wife)阿嫂 aa3 sou2
Sister-in-law (younger brother’s wife)弟婦dai6 fu5
Sister-in-law (husband’s elder sister)姑奶gu1 naai1
Sister-in-law (husband’s younger sister)姑仔gu1 zai2
Sister-in-law (wife’s elder sister)大姨daai6 ji1
Sister-in-law (wife’s younger sister)姨仔 ji1 zai2
Brother-in-law (elder sister’s husband)姐夫ze2 fu1
Brother-in-law (younger sister’s husband)妹夫mui6 fu1
Brother-in-law (husband’s elder brother)大舅daai6 kau5
Brother-in-law (husband’s younger brother)舅仔kau5 zai2
Brother-in-law (wife’s elder brother)大伯daai6 baak3
Brother-in-law (wife’s younger brother)叔仔suk1 zai2

Cantonese Words And Phrases Related To Family

Now that you have learned the Cantonese vocabulary for family, you are now ready to use those in sentences for better pronunciation. Here are some sentences you can use to practice your spoken language about Cantonese vocabulary for family.

English TranslationCantonesePinyinSound
We are a family of four.我 哋 一 家 四 口。ngo5 dei6 yat1 ga1 sei3 hau2。
This is my father.呢 位 係 我 爸 爸。ne1 wai2 hai6 ngo5 ba4 ba1。
This is my mother.呢 位 係 我 媽 媽。ne1 wai2 hai6 ngo5 ma4 ma1
That is your son.呢 個 係 你 個 仔。ne1 go3 hai6 nei5 go3 jai2。
That is your daughter.呢 個 係 你 個 女。ne1 go3 hai6 nei5 go3 neui5。
He is my elder brother.佢係我大佬keoi5 hai6 ngo5 daai6 lou2
My younger sister went to England to study abroad.我妹妹去咗英國留學。ngo5 mui6 mui2 heoi3 zo2 jing1 gwok3 lau4 hok6.
We are husband and wife.我哋係老公老婆ngo5 dei2 hai6 lou5 gung1 lou5 po4

Going On A Trip To Hong Kong? Learn Cantonese Now!

Hong Kong is a place where you can bring your whole family, from youngest to oldest, to enjoy. So if you are planning a trip to this country, make sure to back yourself up with Cantonese phrases like basic words and phrases, travel phrases, saying ‘Thank You,’ and saying ‘Sorry.’

Not only will it make your travel smoother, but you’ll also have the opportunity to connect with the locals and understand their culture better. But, how will you do that? It’s easy, learn Cantonese with the Ling app.

The Ling app is a language learning app developed to help language learners learn languages conveniently and with more fun. If you often bring a dictionary with you, with the Ling app, you don’t have to because everything can be learned as long as you have a phone/computer and internet connection. Vocabulary words are arranged like flashcards with audio recordings from native speakers.

Ready to take that next step? If you are, download the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store now! What more can you ask for? Say goodbye to books and start learning Cantonese and other languages!

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