October 16, 2013

Kinship Terms

There are many kinship terms in Hindi (i.e. words that describe family relationships), since there is almost one word per relationship. Some of the most common terms are listed below.

Diagram

Key: blue = male, pink = female, yellow = you, “stacked” boxes = marriage, lines = children; generations are approximately parallel

Hindi Family Relationships

Immediate Kin

Mother: ममी (जी); The English term “mummy” is most common, and it may be suffixed with जी for respect. The formal Hindi word is माता (जी), but this is seldom used, just as one would seldom address one’s mother as “mother” in English.

Father: पापा (जी); The English term “papa” is most common, and it may be suffixed with जी for respect. The formal Hindi word is पिता (जी), but this is seldom used, just as one would seldom address one’s father as “father” in English.

Sisterबहन / बहिन; An elder sister is called दीदी. Female cousins are informally called बहन/दीदी too.

Brother: भाई; male cousins are also informally called भाई / भैया. An unrelated male peer may be addressed as भैया.

Cousins are typically addressed by name, or by using the same terms for “brother” and “sister”.

Husband: पति

Wife: पत्नी / बीवी

Father’s Side

Father’s Father (Grandfather): दादा (जी), बाबा (जी)

Father’s Mother (Grandmother): दादी (जी)

Father’s Elder Brother: ताऊ / तायाWife: ताई

Father’s Younger Brother: चाचाWife: चाची

Father’s Sister: बुआ / फूफीHusband: फूफा

Mother’s Side

Mother’s Father (Grandfather): नाना (जी)

Mother’s Mother (Grandmother): नानी (जी)

Mother’s Brother: मामाWife: मामी

Mother’s Sister: मौसीHusband: मौसा

Husband’s Side

Husband’s Father: ससुर

Husband’s Mother: सास

Husband’s Elder Brother: जेठWife: जेठानी

Husband’s Younger Brother: देवर; Wife: देवरानी

Husband’s Sister: ननदHusband: ननदोई

Wife’s Side

Wife’s Father: ससुर

Wife’s Mother: सास

Wife’s Brother: साला

Wife’s Sister: साली

Brother’s Side

Brother’s Wife: भाभी

Brother’s Son: भतीजा

Brother’s Daughter: भतीजी

Sister’s Side

Sister’s Husband: जीजा

Sister’s Son: भांजा

Sister’s Daughter: भांजी

Son’s Side

Son’s Wife: बहू

Son’s Son: पोता

Son’s Daughter: पोती

Daughter’s Side

Daughter’s Husband: दामाद

Daughter’s Son: नाती

Daughter’s Daughter: नतिनी (or नातिन)

The suffix जी is often used to show respect. The words छोटा/छोटी and बड़ा/बड़ी can be used to talk about a “little” or “big” sister, or an elder or younger uncle, etc.