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How To Talk About Family In Turkish

Family is universal, but the many names for family differ quite a bit from language to language.
How To Talk About Family In Turkish

No matter what society you live in, family is important. Depending on the culture, though, the role it occupies can vary slightly. In Turkey, living under one roof with three generations is pretty common practice, and the family unit has long been a key tenet of Turkish culture. But like in many countries, there are shifts currently underway in the role of family in Turkish communities. While rural families tend to comprise extensive networks of extended family members, those who live in urban areas are more focused on immediate family.

Whether your family is big or small, though, you’ll need to learn the vocabulary for family in Turkish. We’ve rounded up all of the basics you’ll need to know to get started.

Before listing the vocabulary, we want to make a few notes on the differences between the English and Turkish words for family members. The biggest differences tend to occur with gendered nouns. The word for “niece” and “nephew,” for example, is the same in Turkish: yeğen. Turkish also separates your parents’ brothers and sisters. The word for an aunt on your mother’s side is teyze, but on your father’s side it’s hala. Make sure to pay special attention to the vocabulary where these differences occur so you don’t get confused.

Essential Vocab For Family In Turkish

family — aile

relative — akraba

descendant — evlat

ancestor — ata

mother — anne

father — baba

children — çocuklar

daughter — kız

son — oğul

brother — erkek kardeş

sister — kız kardeş

siblings — kardeşler

older brother — abi

older sister — abla

guardian — veli

stepchild — üvey çocuk

foster family — koruyucu aile

grandmother — büyükanne

grandfather — büyükbaba

grandson, granddaughter — torun

nephew, niece — yeğen

cousin — kuzen

great-grandmother — büyüknine

great-grandfather — büyükdede

paternal aunt — hala

maternal aunt — teyze

paternal uncle — amca

maternal uncle — dayı

mother-in-law — kayınvalide

father-in-law — kayınpeder

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Author Headshot
Thomas Moore Devlin
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.
Thomas grew up in suburban Massachusetts, and moved to New York City for college. He studied English literature and linguistics at New York University, but spent most of his time in college working for the student paper. Because of this, he has really hard opinions about AP Style. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and getting angry about things on Twitter. He's spent a lot of time trying to learn Spanish, and has learned a little German.

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