How to talk about family
My sister's husband's nieces and nephews are my...
Talking about your immediate family members in English is fairly simple, but what about all those extended family members or relatives? Some families are incredibly complex, and it can get quite hairy explaining all the connections between you and them. In this post I'll give you some less common vocabulary, as well as 2 diagrams that show different family connections.
Your mom, dad and brothers and sisters are generally considered your immediate family, and when you grow up and move out of the house and start your own family, your husband or wife and children also become your immediate family. Basically, it's the family that you live with. Everyone else in your family like your aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents etc. are called your relatives.
When you get married, you acquire a "new" family, the family of your spouse (husband - man, wife - woman). Your spouse's family is referred to as your in-laws. So, your spouse's mother is your mother in-law, their father is your father in-law, etc. etc.
Imagine you have some children with your first marriage, but then your relationship doesn't work out, so you get a divorce and remarry. Your new spouse also has children, those children become your step children, and you become their step mother or father.
I highly recommend watching the Netflix series Modern Family, it's hilarious and is a great way to understand even the most complex family relationships!
Here are a few terms to remember, as they are often false friends in both Italian and Spanish:
parents = mom and dad
siblings = brothers and sisters
son = boy child
daughter = girl child
children = sons and daughters (even when they aren't small kids anymore!)
relatives = extended family
niece = brother or sister's daughter
nephew = brother or sister's son
grandchild = son or daughter of son or daughter
You can't choose your family, so perhaps you will get along with them, perhaps not! You might enjoy the company of your parents and siblings, but not of your relatives, or vice versa! If you are a tight knit family, it means you are close to your family members. Other families prefer to see each other only for family gatherings on holidays and birthdays, and that's enough for them. What kind of family connections are common in your country?
immediate family: the family that you live with
extended family members/relatives: the family that you don't live with
get hairy: idiom for - to get or be difficult
grow up: to age and mature (only for people and animals, not objects)
spouse: your husband or wife
in-laws: your husband or wife's family
get a divorce: to separate from your spouse
step children: the children of your second (or third..) spouse (when you live together)
step mother or father: the second (or third..) spouse of one of your parents
hilarious: really funny
get along with: to have a good relationship with someone
tight knit: idiom for - close or very connected
to be close to: to have a good relationship with a person