Kinship terms

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Kinship terms

Post by GrandPiano »

Not exactly a translation challenge, but I wasn't sure where else to put this, since it's for both conlangs and natlangs.

How does your lang divide up kinship terms? Is it similar to English, simple like Hawaiian, insane like the Chinese languages?

:eng: English

brother - male sibling
sister - female sibling

father (formal), dad (informal) - male parent
mother (formal), mom (informal) - female parent

son - male child
daughter - female child

uncle - parent's brother or parent's sibling's husband
aunt - parent's sister or parent's sibling's wife

cousin - uncle/aunt's child

nephew - sibling or sibling-in-law's son
niece - sibling or sibling-in-law's daughter

grandfather (formal), grandpa (informal) - parent's father
grandmother (formal), grandma (informal) - parent's mother

grandson - child's son
granddaughter - child's daughter

husband - male spouse
wife - female spouse

brother-in-law - spouse's brother or sibling's husband
sister-in-law - spouse's sister or sibling's wife

father-in-law - spouse's father
mother-in-law - spouse's mother

son-in-law - child's husband
daughter-in-law - child's wife

:esp: Spanish

hermano - brother
hermana - sister

padre/papá - father/dad
madre/mamá - mother/mom

hijo - son
hija - daughter

tío - uncle
tía - aunt

primo - male cousin
prima - female cousin

sobrino - nephew
sobrina - niece

abuelo - grandfather
abuela - grandmother

nieto - grandson
nieta - granddaughter

esposo/marido - husband
esposa/mujer - wife ("mujer" also means "woman" in general)

cuñado - brother-in-law
cuñada - sister-in-law

suegro - father-in-law
suegra - mother-in-law

yerno - son-in-law
nuera - daughter-in-law ("yerna" also exists, but only in some dialects)

:zho: Mandarin

(It seems like a lot of these have both formal and informal counterparts, so I'll stick with the informal term of address. Also note that these vary a lot from region to region and from family to family and I'm just using what seem to be the most common and standard terms.)

哥哥 gēge - older brother
弟弟 dìdi - younger brother
姐姐 jiějie - older sister
妹妹 mèimei - younger sister

爸爸 bàba - dad
妈妈 māma - mom

儿子 érzi - son
女儿 nǚ'ér - daughter

伯伯 bóbo - uncle (father's older brother)
叔叔 shūshu - uncle (father's younger brother)
舅舅 jiùjiu - uncle (sister's brother)
姑丈 gūzhàng - uncle (father's sibling's wife)
姨丈 yízhàng - uncle (mother's sibling's wife)

姑姑 gūgu - aunt (father's sister)
姨妈 yímā - aunt (mother's sister)
伯娘 bóniáng - aunt (father's older sibling's wife)
婶婶 shěnshen - aunt (father's younger sibling's wife)
妗子 jìnzi - aunt (mother's sibling's wife)

堂兄 tángxiōng - older male cousin on father's side
堂弟 tángdì - younger male cousin on father's side
堂姐 tángjiě - older female cousin on father's side
堂妹 tángmèi - younger female cousin on father's side
表兄 biǎoxiōng - older male cousin on mother's side
表弟 biǎodì - younger male cousin on mother's side
表姐 biǎojiě - older female cousin on mother's side
表妹 biǎomèi - younger female cousin on mother's side

侄子 zhízi - nephew (brother's son)
外甥 wàishēng - nephew (sister's son, used by males)
姨甥 yíshēng - nephew (sister's son, used by females)

侄女 zhínǚ - niece (brother's daughter)
外甥女 wàishengnǚ - niece (sister's daughter, used by males)
姨甥女 yíshengnǚ - niece (sister's daughter, used by females)

爷爷 yéye - grandpa (father's father)
外公 wàigōng - grandpa (mother's father)
奶奶 nǎinai - grandma (father's mother)
外婆 wàipó - grandma (mother's mother)

孙子 sūnzi - grandson (son's son)
外孙 wàisūn - grandson (daughter's son)
孙女 sūnnǚ - granddaughter (son's daughter)
外孙女 wàisūnnǚ - granddaughter (daughter's daughter)

老公 lǎogōng - husband
老婆 lǎopó - wife

姐夫 jiěfu - brother-in-law (older sister's husband)
妹夫 mèifu - brother-in-law (younger sister's husband)
大伯 dàbó - brother-in-law (husband's older brother)
小叔 xiǎoshū - brother-in-law (husband's younger brother)
大舅 dàjiù - brother-in-law (wife's older brother)
小舅 xiǎojiù - brother-in-law (wife's younger brother)

嫂子 sǎozi - sister-in-law (older brother's wife)
弟妹 dìmèi - sister-in-law (younger brother's wife)
大姑 dàgū - sister-in-law (husband's older sister)
小姑 xiǎogū - sister-in-law (husband's younger sister)
大姨 dàyí - sister-in-law (wife's older sister)
小姨 xiǎoyí - sister-in-law (wife's younger sister)

公公 gōnggong - father-in-law (husband's father)
岳父 yuèfù - father-in-law (wife's father)
婆婆 pópo - mother-in-law (husband's mother)
岳母 yuèmǔ - mother-in-law (wife's mother)

女婿 nǚxu - son-in-law
媳妇 xífù - daughter-in-law
Last edited by GrandPiano on 10 May 2016 13:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by Creyeditor »

So here's the kinship terms I am aware of that are used in Papuan Malay:

:ind: Papuan Malay/Indonesian

kaka older sibling, older cousin (parent's older sibling's child)
ade younger sibling, younger cousin (parent's younger sibling's child)
kaka-ade siblings, cousins

bapa father
mama mother
orang tua parents (lit. people old)


bapa ade father's younger brother1
mama ade father's younger brother1
bapa tua father's older brother1
mama tua mother's older sister1
om mother's brother (from dutch)1
tante father's sister (from dutch)1

keponakan/sepupu nephew, niece (seldom used), cousin, someone related with unknown relation status

tete grandfather
nene grandmother
cucu grandchild

ipar spouse's sibling, sibling's spouse

1 These are sometimes also used for in-laws.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by clawgrip »

:jpn: Japanese
Kinship terms are a bit of a rat's nest in Japanese, because formality and the relationship of the speakers come into play. There are four basic situations:

1. talking to a friend or family member about your own family
2. talking to a friend or family member about someone else's family
3. talking in a formal situation about your own family
4. talking in a formal situation about someone else's family
4+. talking in a honorific style about someone else's family

Same generation:
お兄さん oniisan - older brother (1,2,4)†
兄 ani - older brother (3)

弟 otōto - younger brother (1, 2, 3)*†

お姉さん onēsan - older sister (1,2,4)†
姉 ane - older sister (3)

妹 imōto - younger sister (1, 2, 3)*†

いとこ(従妹) itoko - cousin*†
はとこ hatoko - 1st cousin*†

Generation above:
お父さん otōsan - father (1, 2, 4)†
父親 chichioya - father (1)
父 chichi - father (3)

お母さん okāsan - mother (1, 2, 4)†
母親 hahaoya - mother (1)
母 haha - mother (3)

おばさん obasan - aunt†
おじさん ojisan - uncle†

Aunts and uncles can be distinguished in writing, i.e. 伯母さん/叔父さん obasan/ojisan are aunts and uncles who are older than the parent they are connected with, while 叔母さん/叔父さん are aunts and uncles who are younger than the parent they are connected with. This is not often done though, and not everyone is immediately familiar with the difference between 伯 and 叔.

Generation below:
息子 musuko - son (1, 2, 3)*
ご子息様 goshisokusama - son (4+)

娘 musume - daughter (1, 2, 3)*
ご息女様 gosokujosama - daughter (4+)

甥(っ子) oi(kko) - nephew (1, 2, 3) (the ko suffix marks it as a child but can't be used for 3)
甥御様 oigosama - nephew (4+)
姪(っ子) mei(kko) - niece (ditto)
姪御様 oigosama - nephew (4+)
(there is no good term for 4; adding -san is weird, using oigo/meigo is stiff)

Two generations above:
ばあば bāba - grandma (1)
おばあちゃん obāchan - grandmother (1, 2)
おばあさん (お婆さん、お祖母さん) obāsan - grandmother (1, 2, 4)†
祖母 sobo - grandmother (3)

じいじ jiiji - grandpa (1)
おじいちゃん ojiichan - grandfather (1, 2)
おじいさん (お爺さん、お祖父さん) ojiisan - grandfather (1, 2, 4)†
祖父 sofu - grandfather (3)

Two generations below:
孫 mago - grandchild (1, 2, 3)
お孫さん omagosan - grandchild (4)†

妻 tsuma - wife (1, 3)
家内 kanai - wife (1, 3) (only old people use this; it literally means "the inside of the house")
かみさん/カミさん kamisan - wife (1, 2 (I think 2))
女房 nyōbo - wife (1)
奥さん okusan - wife (1, 2, 4)†
(ご)夫人 (go)fujin - wife (2, 4) (yes, it means wife but it's written with 夫)

夫 otto - husband (1, 3)
旦那 danna - husband (1)*†
主人 shujin - husband (3)
ご主人 goshujin - husband (4)†

嫁 yome - daughter-in-law (1, 3)
お嫁さん oyomesan - daughter-in-law (2, 4)†
婿 muko - son-in-law (1, 3)
お婿さん omukosan - son-in-law (2, 4, but not really a common term)†

舅 shūto - father-in-law (1, 3)
お舅さん oshūtosan - father-in-law (2, 4)†
姑 shūtome - mother-in-law (1, 3)
お姑さん oshūtomesan - mother-in-law (2, 4)†

you can add 義理~ giri- to create other in-laws, e.g. 義理弟 giri-otōto - younger brother-in-law
you can add まま~/継~ mama- to create step relations, e.g. まま父 mama-chichi - stepfather

*add ~さん -san for 4
†add ~様 -sama (or change ~さん -san to ~様 -sama) for 4+

I bet Korean's worse, and if anyone here knows Korean, I'd like to see it.
Last edited by clawgrip on 10 May 2016 16:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by alynnidalar »

Here's the :con: Tirina ones, using the real family tree of Alyn, an individual from my conworld. As you can probably tell, Chinese kinship terms were a definite inspiration!

I think I posted that here before, but I can't recall. Some notes:

Most kinship terms are listed in the tree; most of the missing ones have been listed and described separately (or can be figured out based on the same patterns). * is birth date, + is death date. oo is marriage date. ... means unknown. #C#R means "#th cousin, # times removed".

The people in this tree are dalar, who as you can see from the dates live significantly longer than humans. They tend to have their children in groups. Siblings from the same set as you are your "milkbrothers/sisters" (hepin/wadas), and siblings from a different set are your "bloodbrothers/sisters" (erate/erataha).

Anar/muran/ato are intensifiers and serve to indicate the degree of relation. Once you run out of those, you start using ordinal numbers: fıler "fifth", atanaril "sixth", etc. There's a few more subtleties that aren't included here, but this is plenty to get you started.

Oh, and ignore the placeholder names, please. :)
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by Dormouse559 »

French's family terms are a lot like English's. (Figures; English borrowed so many of them.) A notable difference is that French doesn't usually distinguish between in-laws and stepfamily. French in-laws/stepfamily are also exceedingly beautiful apparently. [:P]

:fra: French

frère /fʁɛʁ/ - brother
sœur /sœʁ/ - sister
aîné(e) /ene/ - older/eldest
cadet(te) /kadɛ(t)/ - younger/youngest
benjamin(e) /bɑ̃ʒamɛ̃ | bɑ̃ʒamin/ - youngest

père (formal), papa (informal) /pɛʁ | papa/ - father
mère (formal), maman (informal) /mɛʁ | mamɑ̃/ - mother

fils /fis/ - son
fille /fij/ - daughter

oncle /ɔ̃kl/ - uncle
tante /tɑ̃t/ - aunt

cousin(e) /kuzɛ̃ | kuzin/ - cousin
cousin(e) germain(e) /kuzɛ̃ ʒɛʁmɛ̃ | kuzin ʒɛʁmɛn/ - first cousin, cousin german (child of a parent's sibling)

neveu /nəvø/ - nephew
nièce /njɛs/ - niece

grand-père /gʁɑ̃ pɛʁ/ - grandfather
grand-mère /gʁɑ̃ mɛʁ/ - grandmother

petit-fils /pəti fis/ - grandson
petite-fille /pətit fij/ - granddaughter

mari, époux /maʁi | epu/ - husband
femme (also means "woman"), épouse /fam | epuz/ - wife

beau-frère /bo fʁɛʁ/ - brother-in-law/stepbrother
belle-sœur /bɛl sœʁ/ - sister-in-law/stepsister

beau-père /bo pɛʁ/ - father-in-law/stepfather
belle-mère /bɛl mɛʁ/ - mother-in-law/stepmother

beau-fils /bo fis/ - son-in-law/stepson
belle-fille /bɛl fij/ - daughter-in-law/stepdaughter

I included the Silvish terms for "first/second/third cousin" and "cousin once/twice/three-times removed" because I just finished working on those a couple days ago. The diminutive -et is used often to indicate a separation of two generations (between EGO and the relative or a more complex one, like with cosinet "third cousin").

Image Silvish

froaul [fɾɔˈaːo̯] - brother
sorela [sɔˈɾɛː.la] - sister

perre, papin (informal) [ˈpɛː.rə | paˈpẽː] - father
merre, maman (informal) [ˈmɛː.rə | maˈmõː] - mother

fieg [ˈfiː] - son
fiegla [ˈfiː.ʎa] - daughter

oncle [ˈõ.klə] - uncle
anta [ˈõ.ta] - aunt

cosin(a) [kɔˈzẽː | kɔˈzeː.ŋa] - cousin
cosin(a) german(a) [kɔˈzẽ dʑəˈmõː | kɔˈzeː.ŋa dʑəˈmaː.ŋa] - first cousin
cosin(a) filiau/filiëla [kɔˈzẽ fɪˈle̯aːo̯ | kɔˈzeː.ŋa fɪˈle̯ɛː.la] - second cousin (grandchild of a grandparent's sibling)
cosinet(a) [kɔ.zɪˈŋɛ(.ta)] - third cousin (great-grandchild of a great-grandparent's sibling)
du prim/segon/terciame digrad [dʊ ˈpɾẽː səˈgõː təˈɕɛ̯aː.mə dɪˈgɾaː] - once/twice/three times-removed

nevud [nəˈvoː] - nephew
niassa [ˈne̯] - niece

parret, gren-perre, papet (informal) [paˈrɛ | ˈgɾãː pɛː.rə | paˈpɛ] - grandfather
marreta, gren-merre, mameta (informal) [maˈrɛ.ta | ˈgɾãː ˈmɛ.rə | maˈmɛ.ta] - grandmother

figlet [fɪˈʎɛ] - grandson
figleta [fɪˈʎɛ.ta] - granddaughter

uön·ne (also means "man"), marid, opòs [ˈo̯õː.nə | maˈɾeː | ɔˈpɔ] - husband
fen·na (also means "woman"), oposa [ˈfãː.na | ɔˈpɔ.za] - wife

cognad [kɔˈɲaː] - brother-in-law
cognada [kɔˈɲaː.ɾa] - sister-in-law

suogre [suː.ɣɾə] - father-in-law
suogra [suː.ɣɾa] - mother-in-law

gindre [ˈdʑẽː.dɾə] - son-in-law
nuora [ˈnuː.ɾa] - daughter-in-law
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by Iyionaku »

:deu: German

Bruder [ˈbʁuːdɐ] - male sibling
Schwester [ˈʃvɛstʰɐ] - female sibling

Vater [ˈfatʰɐ] - male parent
Mutter [ˈmʊtʰɐ] - female parent

Sohn [zoːn] - male child
Tochter [ˈtʰɔχtʰɐ] - female child

Cousin [kʰuˈsɔː / kʰuˈsɛŋ] - male uncle's/aunt's child
Cousine/Kusine [kʰuˈsiːnə] - female uncle's/aunt's child

Neffe [ˈnɛfə] - sibling or sibling-in-law's son
Nichte [ˈnɪçtʰə] - sibling or sibling-in-law's daughter

Großvater (formal), Opa (informal) [ˈgʁoːsfaːtʰɐ / ˈʔoːpʰa] - parent's father
Großmutter (formal), Oma (informal) [ˈgʁoːsmʊtʰɐ / ˈʔoːma] - parent's mother

Enkel [ˈʔɛŋkʰəl] - child's son
Enkelin [ˈʔɛŋkʰəlɪn] - child's daughter

Mann, Ehemann [ˈʔeːhəman] - male spouse
Frau, Ehefrau [ˈʔehəːfʁaʊ̯] - female spouse

Schwager [ˈʃvaːgɐ] - spouse's brother or sibling's husband
Schwägerin [ˈʃvɛːgɐʁɪn] - spouse's sister or sibling's wife

Schwiegervater [ˈʃviːgɐˌfaːtʰɐ] - spouse's father
Schwiegermutter [ˈʃviːgɐˌmʊtʰɐ] - spouse's mother

Schwiegersohn [ˈʃviːgɐˌzoːn] - child's husband
Schwiegertochter [ˈʃviːgɐˌˈtʰɔχtʰɐ] - child's wife
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by atman »

:con: Atlántika

We have a fairly typical European system here:

dlipos – brother (from Late PIE sm̩gʷʰélbʰos 'male same-womb-er')
dlipa – sister

fatar – father tata – dad
matar – mother (older mètar) mama – mom

tèjos – uncle
tèja – aunt

cujos – son (semi-cognate with English son, oh yes)
cuja – daughter (archaically zgatar)

nixos – male cousin
nixa – female cousin

subrinhos – nephew (borrowed from Portuguese)
subrinha – niece

fapos – grandfather (there's also fatrinhos – great-grandfather (literally 'little father')
fapa – grandmother (and metrinha is 'great-grandmother', of course)

zgatrinhos – grandson
zgatrinha – granddaughter

sujdoghos/adar – husband (sujdoghos literally means 'the one yoked together '; adar also means man in general, and the /d/ there in place of the expected /n/ is analogical from the other case/number forms)
sujdogha/guna – wife (guna also means woman in general)

gabros – brother-in-law
gabra – sister-in-law

fintros – father-in-law
fintra – sister-in-law

jendros – son-in-law (another Portuguese loanword)
noga – daughter-in-law
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

I was going to start a "kinship" thread in ACH.
See viewtopic.php?f=30&t=1416&p=250410#p250410.
But I don't know; maybe it would be a duplicate of this thread.


I'm going to quote a long-ago post from the ZBB here.
on Mon Oct 23, 2006 at 12:27 pm, TomHChappell wrote:
Post subject: Kinterms In Your Conlangs (And Natlangs)
With apologies to Janko;

How many boardmembers have developed kinterms in your conlangs?

For primary kin I take the following fifteen. (I realize not all of them might exist in every conculture (e.g. "godfather" and "blood-brother"); and in some concultures some of them I've called "primary" might be secondary and vice versa (e.g. "father" and "mother's brother"). Also, not all of these will have different words (e.g. "older brother" and "younger brother") in every conculture.)

--- genetic kin ---
Older Brother
Older Sister
Younger Brother
Younger Sister
--- fictive kin ---

In some cultures "Firestick Father" might be used instead of "Godfather".
In others, "Name Father" might be used instead of "Godfather".
Some cultures might use "Oath-Brother" instead of "Blood-Brother".
And so on.
The 18th-century English author, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), used the term "Father-In-Law" to refer to an adoptive father or fictive father, even moreso than for "spouse's father"; and used the term "Son-In-Law" for an adoptive son or fictive son, even moreso than for "daughter's husband".

A secondary kinsman is the primary kinsman of a primary kinsman. Your conlang probably has or will need words for many (if not most) kinds of secondary kinsmen, too. There may not be quite 225 of them, since you may leave out husbands of males and wives of females and blood-brothers of females. In some concultures perhaps these would be needed.

In modern American English a term is arising, "baby-daddy", meaning "my baby's daddy" i.e. "child's father", which is not necessarily the same as "husband". This ("baby-daddy") is a secondary kinterm, rather than a fictive primary kinterm.

In some cultures a man helps raise his sisters' children rather than his wives' children; and his heir is his oldest sister's oldest son, not his wife's oldest son (who may or may not be his own oldest son). In such cultures "sister's son" could possibly be considered primary while "son" would be considered secondary; actually "son" wouldn't exist as such, instead it would be "wife's son". In such cultures "father" wouldn't be primary -- it might be replaced by "mother's husband" -- while "mother's oldest brother" would be primary.

In some cultures a father's brother is a father and a mother's sister is a mother. In these cultures a father's wife is a mother and a mother's husband is a father, so a brother, a half-brother (whether father's son or mother's son), and a step-brother (whether father's wife's son or mother's husband's son), are all just "brother".

In yet other cultures a careful distinction is made, not only between full-brothers and half-brothers, but also between the two kinds of half-brother; same father but different mother, or same mother but different father.

I'd like to hear as much as you feel about telling us about terms for secondary kin in your conlang, if you have any. You ought to be able to eventually put together a list (yeah, I know, I ought to as well, but I haven't yet); if there are fewer than 100 terms on it, I'd like to see it. You might not feel like posting the whole thing here (but if there are less than 25 terms I hope you will); maybe you'd rather post a URL where we can find it.

In English, a godparent's child or a parent's godchild was a "godsib", from which we get "gossip".
In Spanish, a godchild's father or a child's godfather is a "compadre".

While most natlangs have terms for some tertiary kin (primary kin of secondary kin, or secondary kin of primary kin); and many have a few terms for quaternary kin (secondary kin of secondary kin); probably most don't have a complete list for tertiary kin, and most don't have any simple terms for kin more distant than quaternary kin.

But Turkish, for instance, has a term for "son's wife's father" or "daughter's husband's father".
And English "abuses" the term "brother-in-law" to include "sibling's spouse's brother" and "spouse's sister's husband", which are tertiary kin, even though technically "brother-in-law" applies only to secondary kin (spouse's brother and sister's husband).

If your conlang has any special terms for any tertiary kin, I'd like to hear them. Chances are a complete list of terms for all tertiary relationships would be too bulky to post here; but you might post a URL that would direct us to the entire list, if you have one and want to.

Tom H.C. in MI

Last edited by TomHChappell on Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by k1234567890y »

:con: Lonmai Luna

Lonmai Luna has a very simple kinship system:

- kolcel / celo - a parent or any relative belonging to the same generation of the parent(s) of the speaker.
- alcel / yalcel - a sibling or any relative belonging to the same generation of the speaker themself
- ilacel - an offspring or any relative belonging to the same generation of the the offspring(s) of the speaker.
I prefer to not be referred to with masculine pronouns and nouns such as “he/him/his”.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by masako »

k1234567890y wrote::con: Lonmai Luna

Lonmai Luna has a very simple kinship system:

- kolcel / celo - a parent or any relative belonging to the same generation of the parent(s) of the speaker.
- alcel / yalcel - a sibling or any relative belonging to the same generation of the speaker themself
- ilacel - an offspring or any relative belonging to the same generation of the the offspring(s) of the speaker.
No grandparents or grandchildren?



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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

What do you call:
someone's Parents' Children (or someone's Parent's Child);
someone's Children's Parents (or someone's Child's Parent);
someone's Siblings' Siblings (or someone's Sibling's Sibling);
someone's Spouses' Spouses (or someone's Spouse's Spouse)?

And what, if any, terms are there for:
Parents' Spouses or Parent's Spouse;
Spouses' Children or Spouse's Child;
Children's Siblings or Child's Sibling;
Siblings' Parents or Sibling's Parent?

If kinterms are sensitive to the sex of ALTER, are they also sensitive to the sex of the propositus EGO?
For instance;
do you split "parent" into "male parent" (i.e. "father") and "female parent" (i.e. "mother"), or into "same-sex parent" and "opposite-sex parent"?
do you split "sibling" into "male sibling" (i.e. "brother") and "female sibling" (i.e. "sister"), or into "same-sex sibling" and "opposite-sex sibling"? (BTW some natlang does the latter.)
do you split "spouse" into "male spouse" (i.e. "husband") and "female spouse" (i.e. "wife"), or into "same-sex spouse" and "opposite-sex spouse"? (The latter would be very unusual in older natlangs and older natcultures, but may be more common in concultures and conlangs set in the future.)
do you split "child" into "male child" (i.e. "son") and "female child" (i.e. "daughter"), or into "same-sex child" and "opposite-sex child"?

For secondary kinterms, are they sensitive to the sex
Or of the connecting relative?
or of EGO?
Or of two of those (and which two, if so)?
or of all three of them?

For instance;
Do you have words for "grandfather" and "grandmother"?
Or words for "father's parent" and "mother's parent"?
Or four different words, "father's father" and "father's mother" and "mother's father" and "mother's mother"?

Or, even,
"parent's same-sex parent" and "parent's opposite-sex parent"?
or "same-sex parent's parent" and "opposite-sex parent's parent"?
or "same-sex grandparent" and "opposite-sex grandparent"?
or "same-sex parent's same-sex parent", "same-sex parent's opposite-sex parent", "opposite-sex parent's same-sex parent", and "opposite-sex parent's opposite-sex parent"?
(for a male propositus, those would be "paternal grandfather", "paternal grandmother", "maternal grandmother", and "maternal grandfather", respectively;
(while for a female EGO, they would be "maternal grandmother", "maternal grandfather", "paternal grandfather", and "paternal grandmother" respectively.)


Are any of your kinterms sensitive to relative age?
Maybe "spouse" is divided into "spouse older than EGO" vs "spouse younger than EGO"? (Seems unchivalrous! Unless everybody marries two spouses, one older than themselves and the other younger than themselves.)

Or, maybe, if some people typically have more than one spouse, you have terms for "oldest spouse", "youngest spouse", and maybe "any other spouse"?
In some cultures the "senior wife" (which usually means "first wife") of a male EGO has special privileges.
In some the newest wife also has, temporarily, other special privileges (since she's likely to be in a "favorite" or "honeymoon" phase for a while).
In polyandrous cultures it may go the other way.

More naturalistic/realistic, perhaps, is:
Are the words for "sibling" different depending on their age relative to the propositus (EGO)?
I remember reading of a natlang with four "sibling" terms:
* same-sex sibling older than EGO
* same-sex sibling younger than EGO
* opposite-sex sibling older than EGO
* opposite-sex sibling younger than EGO

French has terms for "oldest brother" (at least, if older than EGO) and "youngest brother" (at least, if younger than EGO).
IIRC these are "an" and "cadet". Maybe I am mistaken. And even if not, maybe these terms are archaic now.
Colloquial modern USAmerican English has had for some time now (longer than I've been alive) a phrasal term (though not a word) for "youngest sibling"; to wit, "the baby of the family".
Your language, or your conlang, might have terms for:
older sibling
older brother
older sister
younger sibling
younger brother
younger sister
oldest sibling (I think Tagalog probably has such a term? I could be mistaken.)
oldest brother
oldest sister
youngest sibling
youngest brother
youngest sister
youngest older sibling
youngest older brother
youngest older sister
oldest younger sibling
oldest younger brother
oldest younger sister

Could your terms for "child" and/or "son" and/or "daughter" also be influenced by their ages relative to your other children (their siblings)?
You might have terms for:
only child
oldest child
youngest child
any child who is neither oldest nor youngest
only son
oldest son
youngest son
any son who is neither oldest nor youngest
only daughter
oldest daughter
youngest daughter
any daughter who is neither oldest nor youngest


If I am not mistaken, some (African? and/or Asian?) languages have words to single out that one of (a male) EGO's wives who is the mother of his oldest son.
I would think it possible that could have all variations possible by varying the sexes involved and alternating "oldest" with "youngest":
in polygynous cultures,
* mother of my oldest son
* mother of my youngest son
* mother of my oldest daughter
* mother of my youngest daughter

in polyandrous cultures;
* father of my oldest son
* father of my youngest son
* father of my oldest daughter
* father of my youngest daughter


I may be wrong, again, but, if not, in some of those same African languages, a person (EGO) with a grandchild has a different term to call their child (ALTER) who is parent of their (EGO's) oldest grandchild. And if the grandchild dies, there is yet another term to call their parent.

Do your terms for "child's child" vary depending on the sex of ALTER (the grandchild)?
Or the sex of the intermediate relative (EGO's child, ALTER's parent)?
Or the sex of the propositus (EGO's sex)?

Maybe your 'lang distinguishes grandsons from granddaughters.
Or, maybe, instead (or as well?), it distinguishes sons' children from daughters' children.

Or just to give a possibility, without claiming it's attested in any natlang, (nor even that it's naturalistic nor realistic!), maybe there are terms for:
* same-sex child's same-sex child (i.e., a male EGO's son's son or a female EGO's daughter's daughter)
* opposite-sex child's opposite-sex child (i.e., a male EGO's daughters's son or a female EGO's son's daughter)
* any other grandchild (i.e., any granddaughter of a male EGO or any grandson of a female EGO).
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

Certain 3rd-degree kinterms:
What do you call your:
parent's parent's parent?
parent's parent's child?
parent's child's child?
child's child's child?

How much does it vary depending on the sexes of the people in the chain of connecting relatives?
For instance; you might distinguish all eight great-grandparents; FFF, FFM, FMF, FMM, MFF, MFM, MMF, MMM.
You might distinguish all eight kinds of great-grandchildren; SSS, SSD, SDS, SDD, DSS, DSD, DDS, DDD.
You might distinguish four different kinds of half-uncle -- FFS, FMS, MFS, MMS -- and four different kinds of half-aunt -- FFD, FMD, MFD, MMD.
You might distinguish four different kinds of "half-nephew" -- FSS, FDS, MSS, MDS -- and four different kinds of "half-niece" -- FSD, FDD, MSD, MDD.

How much does it vary depending on the relative ages of the people in the chain of connecting relatives?
This isn't a variable in "parent's parent's parent" nor "child's child's child".
But do you have a different word for, for instance, an uncle (father's brother) who is older than your father, versus one who is younger than your father?
And, in my father's time, and my mother's father's time, it would also have been convenient to distinguish an uncle older than EGO from one younger than EGO.

Reciprocally, one might wish to distinguish one's "niblings" (nieces and/or nephews) who are children of an older sibling, from those who are children of a younger sibling;
and if the connecting relative (their parent, your sibling (or half-sibling?)) is older than you, you might also need to specify whether your nibling is older than you or younger than you.


What about third-degree relatives where there is a chain of child-or-parent relationships in which one of the "child" links precedes one of the "parent" links?
* child's parent's parent
* child's child's parent
* child's parent's child
* parent's child's parent

Do you always assume that if ALTER is EGO's child's parent, then ALTER must be EGO's spouse or ex-spouse or intended spouse or formerly betrothed?

If so, "child's parent's parent" is something like "parent-in-law", and "child's child's parent" is something like "child-in-law".
"parent's child's parent" is like "sibling's spouse", and "child's parent's child" is like "spouse's sibling".

How, if at all, do these vary depending on the sex of ALTER, the sex of EGO, and the sex of the interconnecting relatives?
How much, if at all, do they depend on the life-status of the interconnecting relatives (living, deceased, not-yet-born)?
How much (etc.) do they depend on whether any marriages in the chain are no longer in effect (there's been a divorce), or have not yet been solemnized (they're engaged, but not yet married), or even are no longer intended to be solemnized (they were engaged but broke up* before marrying)?
Edit: *or one of them died
And do they depend at all on the relative ages of the people in the chain?
For instance does a man whose mother-in-law is younger than he is, call her by a different kinterm than he would if she were older than he?
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

masako wrote:
k1234567890y wrote: :con: Lonmai Luna

Lonmai Luna has a very simple kinship system:

- kolcel / celo - a parent or any relative belonging to the same generation of the parent(s) of the speaker.
- alcel / yalcel - a sibling or any relative belonging to the same generation of the speaker themself
- ilacel - an offspring or any relative belonging to the same generation of the the offspring(s) of the speaker.
No grandparents or grandchildren?
I agree that it seems unlikely, if the conspeakers are human and their conculture is similar to RL cultures, that there would be no terms for parents' parents or none for children's children.

Great-grand-relatives, OTOH, are more likely to be spoken about than spoken with. (At least, IMHO; at least up until now, anyway.)
One is unlikely to live long enough to have very many long conversations with most of one's adult or late-adolescent great-grandchildren.

This may have changed lately, however.
Suppose women in some family usually have their oldest daughter when the mother is age 20 years old.
Then an 80-year-old woman (EGO) can have a 20-year-old great-granddaughter (ALTER);
ALTER can be EGO's daughter's daughter's daughter.
(And ALTER may also be pregnant with her own first daughter!)

Note this requires both longevity and early parenthood.
IRL as lives get longer, generations also get longer; that is, the age of first parenthood tends to rise as the lifespan lengthens.
So if people usually live to be, say, 75 y/o, then it's a lot likelier that the average age difference between parent and child is more like 25 years; and maybe that the average age difference between parent and oldest-child is about 25.
That would mean a 75-year-old man (EGO), for instance, could have a 50-year-old oldest son who has a 25-year-old oldest son (ALTER, EGO's grandson) whose wife has just given birth to EGO's first great-grandson. EGO may be unlikely to live longer than another two years, and may never converse with his great-grandson.

So depending on the conculture and conhistory and conworld and so on, maybe the language does need terms of address for great-grand-relatives. But IMO even then it's unlikely to need such terms for great^2-grand-relatives, unless either lifespans increase without generations shortening lengthening*, or generations shorten without lifespans decreasing.
Edit: *corrected "shortening" to "lengthening" Fri 21 Apr 2017, 15:39
For instance, if people live to be 120 y/o, and have their first child when 18 y/o,
a 120-year-old EGO could have a 12-y/o great^4-grandchild.

But if they live to be 99 y/o and have their first child when 30 y/o,
when EGO passes away at age 99, their oldest great-grandchild will be only 9-y/o.
(If EGO passes away at age 70, EGO's oldest grandchild will be only 10. EGO will die before their great-grandchild is ever conceived.)
Last edited by eldin raigmore on 21 Apr 2017 22:40, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by alynnidalar »

IIRC Lonmai Luna is spoken by the long-longs, a nonhuman species.

Lots of other questions to answer, though! I have the Tirina terms outlined in a family tree linked earlier in the thread, but let me go through some of these that you mentioned and discuss the Tirina terms in greater detail. Hidden because it's loooong.
First, Tirina terms are usually sensitive to the sex of ALTER, but are not sensitive to the sex of EGO. Therefore, there are only two terms for parents (patal 'mother' and hetan 'father'), one term for spouse (sitedanil 'spouse'), and two terms for children (awira 'daughter' and tern 'son', plus do'a 'child of either gender'). Siblings are a little more complicated; there's actually four terms. Tirina is spoken primarily by the dalar, a nonhuman species that have long lifespans and tend to have children in "clumps" of three or so. Therefore, you refer to siblings from the same "clump" as you as wadas 'milksister' and hepin 'milkbrother' and siblings from other "clumps" as erataha 'bloodsister' and erate 'bloodbrother'. (This extends to other generations as well, e.g. there's two terms for aunts depending on whether they're your parent's milksisters or bloodsisters.)

Another important factor in Tirina kinship terms is that a person can only legally and culturally be part of a single "Family"/clan at once. (essentially, a big ol' extended family) Kinship terms beyond your immediate family thus only apply to people in your Family. Even a grandparent not from your own family would be referred to with a circumlocution such as patal ni hepin 'father's mother' rather than paduman 'grandmother'. Also, polygamy is not a thing (and homosexual relationships are rare too).

As a result, your parents' gender is irrelevant to kinship terms--what's more important is whether or not they're from your Family, or if they married in. (thus paduman and padu mean 'grandmother/grandfather from the same family', but you'd have to explicitly spell out the relationship for your other set of grandparents; there's no "shortcut" term)

All right... relative age... yes, that can be indicated in Tirina as well, by sticking ato or tal on the end. (e.g. wadasato 'older milksister', eratedutal 'uncle who happens to be younger than me') This indicates older/younger than EGO. (so there's no way to specify, for example, "my mother's younger sister", only "my mother's sister who is older/younger than me") This is pretty rare, though, and there's no dedicated terms for it. It also wouldn't make sense in the context of a spouse.

Grandchildren terms depend on ALTER's gender only, not the intervening child's gender: tistuin 'granddaughter', iswı grandson.
eldin raigmore wrote: What do you call your:
parent's parent's parent?
parent's parent's child?
parent's child's child?
child's child's child?
Parent's parent's parent is anar padu/paduman 'great-grandfather/mother'. Again, there's no reason to specify the gender of the connecting relatives, because it's whichever one is in EGO's Family.

Parent's parent's child would be wadasu/hepinyedu (milksister/brother of parent) or erataha/erate (bloodsister/brother of parent). Their spouse would be nıhon/dauha (wife of parent's sibling/husband of parent's sibling, respectively)

Parent's child's child uses the same terms, but prefixed with tal to indicate they're from a lower generation instead of a higher one. (for maximum clarity, lun can be used with the aunt/uncle terms, but that's rare) In these cases, the milk/bloodsibling distinction is based on EGO. For example, tal wadasu is EGO's milksibling's daughter (regardless of the sibling's gender).

Child's child's child... I actually have spent a lot more time working out upward generations, not downward ones. It would probably be the opposite of EGO's parent's parent's parent, thus tal anar padu/paduman, but it might be derived from the grandchild terms, thus anar tistuin/iswı. The latter is a lot cleaner.

Again, -tal and -ato can be used to indicate that ALTER is younger/older than EGO. Because of how long dalar live and how long they can have children for, it's not uncommon to have aunts and uncles who are younger than you... younger than your children, even!

Step- and half- and out-of-wedlock children would complicate things, and I haven't fully thought through that stuff. The above is all for "typical"/"ideal" relationships in the culture (which means children are born to a married male and female couple that is part of a Family). For the most part, all of these terms would work fine for same-sex couples.

BUT outside of your direct line of descent/ancestry, the generic terms fenrehas/fenre (female/male cousin) tend to be used for everyone. Of course you know all of the precise relationships of every person in your Family to you and can produce them at the drop of a hat (oh, so-and-so is your fourth cousin once removed, the son of your female third cousin twice removed? That would be your ato reldaha tern), but in everyday life, it just doesn't matter that much.
tl;dr: in Tirina, you could be really precise (and you'd better know the exact relationship for every single person in your legal family), but you also could just call everyone "cousin" and have done.

EDIT: fixed the father/milkbrother terms. Father is supposed to be hetan, milkbrother is hepin.
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

Thanks very much, alynnidalar!
One question;
Is hepin really the term both for "father" and for "milkbrother"?
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by Man in Space »

The nightmare that is the Proto-Dujajikiswə kinship system:

sajis father's brother's daughter; mother's sister's daughter
ɛweñ father's sister's son; mother's brother's son
əʔɛng brother; father's brother's son; mother's sister's daughter (older)
eʔjok brother; father's brother's son; mother's sister's daughter (younger or same age)
jeh sister; father's sister's daughter; mother's brother's daughter (older)
adni sister; father's sister's daughter; mother's brother's daughter (younger or same age)

ñɛpke father; father's brother
kukiṉ father's sister
saswəu father's father
soy father's mother
pɛʔu mother's brother
ñeeja mother; mother's sister
jɛngho mother's father
kaw mother's mother

(Below, "brother" and "sister" include the cousins that would be included as well; "cousin" does not.)

uʔejəs older brother's son
ɛjsoñ younger brother's son
wiungə older brother's daughter
sule younger brother's daughter
ʔuak older sister's son
ʔaj younger sister's son
kəłiso older sister's daughter
əuʔa younger sister's daughter
ekɛn cousin's son
ohjung cousin's daughter
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CC = Common Caber
CK = Classical Khaya
CT = Classical Ĝate n Tim Ar
Kg = Kgáweq'
PO = Proto-O
PTa = Proto-Taltic
PTO = Proto-Tim Ar-O
STK = Sisỏk Tlar Kyanà
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by Iyionaku »

Yélian kinship terms:

1st grade

méva [ˈmeːva] - mother
pèno [pɛno] - father
mepeʻi [mɛˈpeːʔi] - parent

napor [ˈnapɔd̟] - son
nepia [ˈneːpɪ̯a] - daughter
îyi [ˈiɕi] - child

namo [ˈnamo] - brother
nemia [ˈneːmɪ̯a] - sister
namær [ˈnaməd̟] - sibling

mévatasal [ˈmeːvaˌtasɐl] - grandmother (official)
carla [ˈkaɾla] - grandmother (familiar)

pènotasal [ˈpɛnoˌtasɐl] - grandfather (official)
fride [ˈɾiːdɛ] - grandfather (familiar)

iaco [ˈɪ̯aːko] - grandson
paila [ˈpaɪ̯la] - granddaughter

Higher grades are formed with the prefix giy- [ˈga̯iː], but there is no further distinction, e.g. the grandmother of the mother and the grandmother of the grandmother are both called giycarla [ga̯iːˈkaɾla]

2nd grade

nîyte [ˈniɕtə] - uncle
nîyta/ [ˈniɕta] - aunt
nîytær [ˈniɕtəd̟] - sibling of parents

nánamo [ˈnanamo] - male cousin
nánemia [ˈnaneːmɪ̯a] - female cousin
nánamær [ˈnanaməd̟] - cousin

bérano [ˈbeːɾano] - nephew
bérenia [ˈbeːɾɛnɪ̯a] - niece
béranær [ˈbeːɾanəd̟] - child of siblings


imko [ˈimko] - brother-in-law
imka [ˈimka] - sister-in-law
imkær [ˈimkəd̟] - in-law

imkèno [ɪmˈkɛno] - father-in-law
imkéva [ɪmˈkeːva] - mother-in-law
imkeʻi [ɪmˈkeːʔi] - parent-in-law
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by All4Ɇn »

:con: Kyüweng
In line with many countries in Europe but does have some of it's own unique features

Bádê- Brother
Sosô- Sister

Badê- Father
Madê- Mother

Nebox- Son
Dúhê- Daughter

Tawê- Uncle
Jos- Aunt

Bélôs- Cousin (Gender of noun depends on gender of topic)

Màs- Nephew/Grandson
Malya- Niece/Granddaughter

Adô- Grandfather
Déya- Grandmother (If she's not widowed)
Üwos- Grandmother (If she is widowed)

Dôspox- Husband
Déma- Wife

Sôsùs- Brother-In-Law/Stepbrother
Sora- Sister-In-Law/Stepsister

Tadô- Father-In-Law (Husband's Father)
Sosùs- Father-In-Law (Wife's Father)
Tatya- Mother-In-Law (Husband's Mother)
Sokya- Mother-In-Law (Wife's Mother)

Sûs- Son-In-Law
Nus- Daughter-In-Law

Werô- Stepfather
Wera- Stepmother

Werix- Stepson
Werida- Stepdaughter
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Re: Kinship terms

Post by eldin raigmore »

Does anyone's conlang (or natlang) have a term for (any one or more of) the following?:
  1. First-degree kin regardless of gender or generation or age?
  2. Second-degree kin regardless of gender or generation or age?
  3. Third-degree kin regardless of gender or generation or age?
It's OK if you answer any one or two of those questions separately from each other.

If "primary kin" are only "parent" and "child", this would be:
  1. parents and children;
  2. parents' parents and parents' children and children's children and children's parents;
  3. parents' parents' parents, parents' parents' children, parents' children's children, children's children's children, children's parents' parents, children's children's parents, parents' children's parents, children's parents' children.
If "primary kin" include "sibling" and "spouse" as well as "parent" and "child", this would be:
  1. parents, children, siblings, and spouses;
  2. parents' parents, parents' siblings, parents' spouses, parents' children, siblings' parents, siblings' siblings, siblings' spouses, siblings' children, spouses' parents, spouses' siblings, spouses' spouses, spouses' children, children's parents, children's siblings, children's spouses, children's children;
  3. the parents and siblings and spouses and children of the above; equivalently, the above "second-degree" kin of one's own parents, siblings, spouses, and children.
(NOTE: I'm aware, and I'm sure you are also, that "parents' children" are usually "siblings".
(Depending on the language and the culture, maybe they always are.
(Depending on the language and the culture,
(perhaps "parents' spouses" are always "parents",
(and/or "siblings' parents" are always "parents",
(and/or "siblings' siblings" are always "siblings",
(and/or "spouses' children" are always "children",
(and/or "children's parents" are always "spouses",
(and/or "children's siblings" are always "children".
(Or perhaps not "always". Maybe only "usually".
(Or maybe, (though probably for a conlang/conculture instead of a natlang/natculture), only "frequently", or, even, only "sometimes".)


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Re: Kinship terms

Post by masako »




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