Japanese Vocabulary Lesson 13: Family

In this week’s lesson, I’ll teach you about how to say family members’ names in Japanese.

Almost every word will have two ways of saying, because in Japanese, when you refer to your own family’s members or to another person’s family’s members, different words are used.

For example, your own family in Japanese is 家族 (かぞく, kazoku), but when you refer to other person’s family, you say ご家族 (ごかぞく, gokazoku), although in this example it is a minor difference (The ご before 家族 is an honorific particle used in many words, which I’ll explain later in another lesson!)

So in the following table, the first translation refers to one’s own family, and the second to another person’s.

English Japanese (own family) Japanese (another’s family)
Children 子供 (こども, kodomo) お子さん (おこさん, okosan)
Family 家族 (かぞく, kazoku) ご家族 (ごかぞく, gokazoku)
Parents 両親 (りょうしん, ryoushin) ご両親 (ごりょうしん, goryoushin)
Relatives 親族 (しんぞく, shinzoku) ご親族 (ごしんぞく, goshinzoku)
Aunt 叔母 (おば, oba) 叔母さん (おばさん, obasan)
Cousin いとこ (itoko) いとこ (itoko)
Daughter 娘 (むすめ, musume) 娘さん (むすめさん, musumesan)
Father 父 (ちち, chichi) お父さん (おとうさん, otousan)
Granddaughter 孫娘 (まごむすめ, magomusume) お孫娘さん (おまごむすめさん, omagomusumesan)
Grandfather 祖父 (そふ, sofu) お祖父さん (おじいさん, ojiisan)
Grandmother 祖母 (そぼ, sobo) お祖母さん (おばあさん, obaasan)
Grandson 孫息子 (まごむすこ, magomusuko) お孫息子さん (おまごむすこさん, omagomusukosan)
Husband 夫 (おっと, otto) or 旦那 (だんな, danna) 旦那さん (だんなさん, dannasan)
Mother 母 (はは, haha) お母さん (おかあさん, okaasan)
Nephew 甥 (おい, oi) 甥 (おい, oi)
Niece 姪 (めい, mei) 姪 (めい, mei)
Older Brother 兄 (あに, ani) お兄さん (おにいさん, oniisan)
Older Sister 姉 (あね, ane) お姉さん (おねえさん, oneesan)
Son 息子 (むすこ, musuko) 息子さん (むすこさん, musukosan)
Stepfather 父 (ままちち, mamachichi) or (けいふ, keifu) 父 (ままちち, mamachichi) or (けいふ, keifu)
Stepmother 継母 (ままはは, mamahaha) or (けいぼ, keibo) 継母 (ままはは, mamahaha) or (けいぼ, keibo)
Uncle 叔父 (おじ, oji) 叔父さん (おじさん, ojisan)
Wife 妻 (つま, tsuma) or 家内 (かない, kanai) 奥さん (おくさん, okusan)
Younger Brother 弟 (おとうと, otouto) 弟さん (おとうとさん, otoutosan)
Younger Sister 妹 (いもうと, imouto) 妹さん (いもうとさん, imoutosan)

I wrote it just for your information, but the truth is normally grandson and granddaughter are both mentioned as 孫 (まご, mago) when talking about one’s own, and お孫さん (おまごさん, omagosan) when talking about another person’s.

And that’s all for today!

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