Chinese Family Tree

rules

#1

For many Chinese learners, family titles in Chinese are for sure a pain in the neck. It might rack your brain just trying to say “uncle” or “cousin” right. In Chinese, they give each family member a title. From your mother’s side to your father’s side, to each generation, and gender…etc. For this reason, Chinese family tree is unquestionably difficult. Today, we’ll make a list of most commonly used family titles. Don’t worry, here’s a small tip. (Just save this as a bookmark and pull it out to review right before Chinese new year dinner.)

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Great Grandparents/ Grandparents
Father’s side –
Great grandfather 曾祖父 zēngzǔfù
Great grandmother 曾祖母 zēngzǔmǔ
Mother’s side –
Great grandfather 曾外祖父 zēn wàigzǔfù
Great grandmother 曾外祖母 zéng wàizǔmǔ
Grandparents
Father’s side –
Grandfather 爷爷 yéye
Grandmother 奶奶 nǎinai
Mother’s side –
Grandfather 外公 wàigōng
Grandmother 外婆 wàipó
Parents
Father 父亲/ 爸爸/ 爹 fùqīn/ bàba/ diē
Mother 母亲/ 妈妈/ 娘 mǔqīn/ māmā/ niang
Father in Law –
Husband’s father 公公 gōnggōng
Wife’s father 岳父 yuèfù
Mother in Law –
Husband’s mother 婆婆 pópo
Wife’s mother 岳母/ 丈母娘 yuèmǔ/ zhàngmǔniáng
Uncle
Father’s elder brother 伯父/ 伯伯 bófù/ bóbo
Father’s younger brother 叔父/ 叔叔 shúfù/ shūshu
Father’s sister’s husband (大/小) 姑丈 (dà/xiǎo) gūzhàng
Mother’s elder brother 大舅舅 dà jiùjiu
Mother’s younger brother 小舅舅 xiǎo jiùjiu
Mother’s sister’s husband (大/小) 姨丈 (dà/xiǎo) yízhàng
Aunt
Father’s elder sister 大姑姑/ 姑妈 dà gūgū/ gūmā
Father’s younger sister 小姑姑 xiǎo gūgū
Father’s brother’s wife (大/小) 婶婶 (dà/xiǎo) shěnshen
Mother’s elder sister 大姨妈/大姨母/大阿姨 dà yímā/dà yímǔ/dà āyí
Mother’s younger sister 小姨妈/小姨母/小阿姨 xiǎo yímā/xiǎo yímǔ/xiǎo āyí
Mother’s brother’s wife (大/小) 舅妈 (dà/xiǎo) jiùmā
Husband/ Wife
Husband 老公/ 丈夫/ 先生 lǎogōng/zhàngfū/xiānshēng
Wife 老婆/ 妻子/太太 lǎopó/ qīzi/ tàitài
Siblings
Siblings 兄弟姊妹 xiōngdì zǐmè
Older brother 哥哥/ 大哥/ 老哥 gēgē/ dàgē/ lǎo gē
Younger brother 弟弟/ 小弟/ 老弟 dìdì/ xiǎodì/ lǎodì
Older sister 姊姊/ 大姊/ 老姊 jiě jie/ dà zǐ/ lǎo zǐ
Younger sister 妹妹/ 小妹/ 老妹 mèi mei/ xiǎo mèi/ lǎo mèi
Brother in law 姊夫/ 妹夫 jiě fū/ mèifu
Sister in law 嫂子/ 弟妹 sǎozi/ dìmèi
Cousin
Father’s side –
Cousin 堂哥/ 堂弟/ 堂姊/ 堂妹 táng gē/ táng dì/ táng zǐ/ táng mèi
Mother’s side –
Cousin 表哥/ 表弟/ 表姊/ 表妹 biǎo gē/ biǎo dì/ biǎo zǐ/ biǎomèi
Nephew/ Niece
Nephew 姪子/外甥 zhí zi/wàishēng
Niece 姪女/外甥女 zhí nǚ/wàishēngnǚ
Son/ Daughter
Son 儿子 érzi
Daughter 女儿 nǚ’ér
Son in law 女婿 nǚxù
Daughter in law 媳妇 xífù
Grandchildren
Grandson 孙子 sūnzi
Granddaughter 孙女 sūnnǚ

As can be seen, Chinese people values a lot in family relationships and roles. Every person in the family has their own title as they’re a part of the family member. Then again, it might be confusing for a non-native Chinese speaker to memorize every title of the Chinese family tree. Just start from the basics, like parents, siblings, and cousins. I’m sure after a few Christmas/ Chinese new year dinner, you’ll stick all those complicated titles in your head!

Check here for our other posts about understanding China. Our last post about What is Leftover women?

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#2

A useful post, but it would be helpful if you didn’t use simplified characters, as this is a Taiwanese forum.


#3

If you are looking for an easy way than memorizing all those names, here’s a link:

http://www.miui.com/zt/calculator2016/dist.php?from=groupmessage&isappinstalled=0


#4

Really? Time to proofread when you cut and paste.


#5

Maybe zǐmè is how it’s pronounced in some interesting regional dialect we don’t know about.


#6

Maybe she’s referring to the fact that it needs an “i” at the end of the word ==> zǐmèi


#7

When I click that link, all I see on that page is 夫妻 AC, and nothing is clickable.


#8

I was actually just joking. There are lots of errors on that list. The one that ironlady mentioned should be jiěmèi (zǐ is a formal reading of that character that’s rarely used in everyday speech). Other mistakes include 曾外祖父 zēn (zēng) wàigzǔfù and 曾外祖母 zéng (zēng) wàizǔmǔ. Don’t have the patience to go through the whole thing.


#9

:doh:
My bad. I should’ve checked if it also works in desktop. This one should be fine:
http://lishengzxc.github.io/relativecalc/
Same functions, just different website (and uses simplified Chinese :smirk: )