Family relationships

    Spotlight 9/2018
    Family tree
    © Martin Haake

    Whatever form they take, families are central to most of our lives. Here, we present language to talk about family relationships.

    Family matters

    Kath is the eldest of seven children. Hers is a close-knit family. Her parents have lots of siblings, too. Kath has eight uncles, nine aunts, and no less than 28 first cousins. She loved growing up in such a large extended family. Kath has six children of her own: two sets of twins, an adopted son and a baby girl who is ten years his junior.

    Liz is an only child. Her parents got divorced when she was very young. They had joint custody of their daughter. At first, Liz lived with her father and his new spouse. Her stepmother brought in three children from three previous relationships. Liz had difficulty adjusting to her blended family, so she moved back in with her mother. They didn’t get on well, but today Liz is a single mum herself and knows how hard it is to raise a child with no help from a partner.

    Eric and Mabel are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Eric was brought up by foster parents. He didn’t meet his birth mother until he was 18. When Eric and Mabel got engaged, Eric told his wife-to-be that he was illegitimate and didn’t know who his father was. Fortunately, his future in-laws were not as narrow-minded as his blood relations, who had wanted nothing to do with him. Blood is not always thicker than water!


    Family relationships: vocabulary

    Click the hotspots in the image to discover the vocabulary. You will find a list with translations below.



    1. family treeFamilienstammbaumfamily tree            
    2. paternal great-grandparentsUrgroßeltern väterlicherseitspaternal great-grandparents
    3.maternal grandmotherGroßmutter mütterlicherseits maternal grandmother
    4. stepmotherStiefmutterstepmother    
    5. fatherVaterfather
    6. motherMuttermother
    7. auntTanteaunt
    8. onkelonkeluncle
    9. half-sisterHalbschwesterhalf-sister    
    10. brother-in-lawSchwagerbrother-in-law    
    11. sisterSchwestersister    
    12. husbandEhemannhusband    
    13. sister-in-lawSchwägerinsister-in-law    
    14. father-in-lawSchwiegervaterfather-in-law     
    15. mother-in-lawSchwiegermuttermother-in-law    
    16. nephewNeffenephew    
    17. nieceNichteniece    
    18. sonSohnson        
    19. daughterTochterdaughter

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