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Words for Family and Relationships in Chinese

Student practicing sentences in Italian grammar book.

Learning to talk about family and relationships is fundamental in studying any language. In Chinese, understanding the vocabulary related to these topics not only helps you communicate better but also offers insights into the culture’s values and social structure. Below, we will explore some basic Chinese terms for family members and relational concepts, complete with definitions and example sentences.

家人 (jiā rén)
Definition: family members
这是我的家人。
Translation: This is my family.

父亲 (fù qīn)
Definition: father
父亲正在看报纸。
Translation: Father is reading the newspaper.

母亲 (mǔ qīn)
Definition: mother
母亲在厨房做饭。
Translation: Mother is cooking in the kitchen.

爸爸 (bà ba)
Definition: dad (informal)
爸爸会弹吉他。
Translation: Dad can play the guitar.

妈妈 (mā ma)
Definition: mom (informal)
妈妈喜欢园艺。
Translation: Mom likes gardening.

孩子 (hái zi)
Definition: child
孩子们在公园里玩。
Translation: The children are playing in the park.

儿子 (ér zi)
Definition: son
他们的儿子今年上大学了。
Translation: Their son is going to college this year.

女儿 (nǚ ér)
Definition: daughter
他的女儿很擅长绘画。
Translation: His daughter is very good at painting.

兄弟 (xiōng dì)
Definition: brothers
这对兄弟经常一起打篮球。
Translation: The brothers often play basketball together.

姐妹 (jiě mèi)
Definition: sisters
姐妹俩都很爱看书。
Translation: Both sisters love to read.

哥哥 (gē ge)
Definition: older brother
我的哥哥是个工程师。
Translation: My older brother is an engineer.

弟弟 (dì di)
Definition: younger brother
我弟弟正在学习中文。
Translation: My younger brother is learning Chinese.

姐姐 (jiě jie)
Definition: older sister
姐姐今年结婚了。
Translation: My older sister got married this year.

妹妹 (mèi mei)
Definition: younger sister
我的妹妹很会唱歌。
Translation: My younger sister can sing very well.

配偶 (pèi ǒu)
Definition: spouse
他的配偶是一名医生。
Translation: His spouse is a doctor.

丈夫 (zhàng fu)
Definition: husband
她的丈夫很会做饭。
Translation: Her husband is a good cook.

妻子 (qī zi)
Definition: wife
他的妻子在跑马拉松。
Translation: His wife is running a marathon.

爷爷 (yé ye)
Definition: grandfather (paternal)
爷爷之前是老师。
Translation: Grandpa used to be a teacher.

奶奶 (nǎi nai)
Definition: grandmother (paternal)
奶奶喜欢种花。
Translation: Grandma likes to grow flowers.

外公 (wài gōng)
Definition: grandfather (maternal)
外公总是给我讲故事。
Translation: Grandfather always tells me stories.

外婆 (wài pó)
Definition: grandmother (maternal)
外婆做的月饼最好吃。
Translation: Grandmother makes the tastiest mooncakes.

叔叔 (shū shu)
Definition: uncle (father’s younger brother)
叔叔住在外地。
Translation: My uncle lives out of town.

阿姨 (ā yí)
Definition: aunt
阿姨是一名画家。
Translation: Aunt is a painter.

侄子 (zhí zǐ)
Definition: nephew
侄子在玩电子游戏。
Translation: Nephew is playing video games.

侄女 (zhí nǚ)
Definition: niece
侄女非常喜欢跳舞。
Translation: My niece really likes dancing.

表兄弟 (biǎo xiōng dì)
Definition: male cousins (through the mother’s side)
我的表兄弟们要来我的生日派对了。
Translation: My male cousins will come to my birthday party.

表姐妹 (biǎo jiě mèi)
Definition: female cousins (through the mother’s side)
表姐妹们都很会学习。
Translation: My female cousins are all great at studying.

By mastering these terms, you will be prepared to discuss one of the most important aspects of life in Chinese culture—family. These examples reflect everyday conversations and will help you become more fluent and culturally aware when speaking Chinese. Remember, as with any language learning, practice and immersion are key to developing proficiency and understanding nuanced cultural references.

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