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Family and kinship terms in Arabic

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Understanding family and kinship terms is essential for grasping the structure of relationships in any language. Arabic is particularly rich in this regard, with specific words that identify family members with a level of detail not found in English. Here are some of the key family and kinship terms you will encounter in the Arabic language, along with their definitions and example sentences to illustrate their use.

أسرة (Usra)
This term means “family” in a general sense which can include immediate family, extended family, or household.

من المهم أن نحافظ على وحدة الأسرة.
Translation: It’s important to maintain the unity of the family.

أب (Ab)
The Arabic word for “father.”

أبي يعمل مهندسًا.
Translation: My father works as an engineer.

أم (Umm)
The word used for “mother” in Arabic.

أمي تحب الطبخ كثيرًا.
Translation: My mother loves cooking very much.

ابن (Ibn)
This means “son.”

ابني مجتهد في دراسته.
Translation: My son is diligent in his studies.

ابنة (Ibna)
The word for “daughter.”

ابنتي تلعب البيانو.
Translation: My daughter plays the piano.

أخ (Akh)
Meaning “brother.”

لديَّ أخان يكبرانني.
Translation: I have two older brothers.

أخت (Ukht)
The term for “sister.”

أختي تعمل في مجال التصميم.
Translation: My sister works in design.

جد (Jadd)
This word signifies “grandfather.”

جدي رجل حكيم وطيب.
Translation: My grandfather is a wise and kind man.

جدة (Jadda)
Meaning “grandmother.”

جدتي تسكن معنا في المنزل.
Translation: My grandmother lives with us at home.

عم (Amm)
The term for “paternal uncle,” your father’s brother.

عمي يحب الصيد في أوقات فراغه.
Translation: My paternal uncle loves to go fishing in his spare time.

خال (Khal)
Meaning “maternal uncle,” your mother’s brother.

أحب الذهاب إلى بيت خالي في العطلات.
Translation: I love going to my maternal uncle’s house on holidays.

عمة (Amma)
This stands for “paternal aunt,” your father’s sister.

عمتي معلمة موسيقى.
Translation: My paternal aunt is a music teacher.

خالة (Khala)
The word for “maternal aunt,” your mother’s sister.

خالتي تعيش في الخارج.
Translation: My maternal aunt lives abroad.

ابن العم (Ibn al-Amm)
Translates to “paternal cousin” (male), the son of your paternal uncle.

ابن عمي طالب في كلية الطب.
Translation: My paternal cousin is a student in medical school.

ابنة العم (Ibna Al-Amm)
This means “paternal cousin” (female), the daughter of your paternal uncle.

ابنة عمي تعمل في مجال التقنية.
Translation: My paternal cousin works in the tech industry.

ابن الخال (Ibn al-Khal)
Refers to “maternal cousin” (male), the son of your maternal uncle.

ابن خالي يحب لعب كرة القدم.
Translation: My maternal cousin loves playing football.

ابنة الخال (Ibna Al-Khal)
Signifies “maternal cousin” (female), the daughter of your maternal uncle.

ابنة خالي ذاهبة للدراسة في فرنسا.
Translation: My maternal cousin is going to study in France.

زوج (Zawj)
The Arabic term for “husband.”

زوجي مهندس معماري.
Translation: My husband is an architect.

زوجة (Zawja)
Meaning “wife.”

زوجتي تعمل في مجال التعليم.
Translation: My wife works in education.

أنساب (Ansab)
This plural term is used for “relatives by marriage” or in-laws.

أنسابي يسكنون في مدينة أخرى.
Translation: My relatives by marriage live in another city.

Learning these terms is just the beginning. As you delve into the Arabic language, you’ll discover that the family structure and its respective terminology are complex and layered, giving insight into the culture’s values and social norms. Building vocabulary through kinship terms not only improves language skills but also helps in connecting with Arabic speakers on a personal level.

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