Family in Spanish / Latin American culture, is one of the most important concepts. It is seen as a symbol of integrity, and safety, that provides warm and fuzzy feelings associated with love. When speaking to Spanish individuals it is important to know how to talk about family, since the topic tends to appear rather commonly.
This article is built to help you learn the the names of different family members in Spanish, and even teach you a few handy phrases to use in your conversational Spanish.
Family in Spanish
In Spanish, “family” is familia (fuh·mi·lee·uh). When explaining about your family, you will most like say “my family” in English, but in Spanish the answer is mi familia.
The possessive pronoun in Spanish of mi, is “my” in English. But, “family” varies with the possessive pronoun being used.
|Mi familia||My family|
|Tu familia||Your family|
|Su familia||His / Her / Their / Your (polite version) family|
|Nuestra familia||Our family|
Different Family Members in Spanish
The different members of the family are divided up into four categories:
Immediate Family in Spanish
Immediate family or first-degree relatives. This category is reserved for the smallest family unit, which includes: parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Below you will find some terms that are very important to know.
|Dad or Daddy||el papá|
|Mom or Mommy||la mamá|
|Children (Girls & Boys)||los hijos|
|Siblings (Girls & Boys)||los hermanos|
Extended Family in Spanish
Or simply known as second-degree relatives, this category contains grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. This category is almost on the same level as immediate family, so knowing these terms is crucial!
|aunt(s) and uncle(s)||los tios|
|cousin (female)||la prima|
|cousin (male)||el primo|
|cousins (male and female)||los primos|
Just so the concept between immediate and extended family is clear, here is a family tree:
Mixed Family in Spanish
A blended family or step family. For example, if someone adopts you, they are considered your step-parent and you, their step-child. The following terms would be good to know if you— or anyone else you know, have a family in this category:
|stepbrothers and sisters||los hermanastros|
|half-sister||la media hermana|
|half-brother||el medio hermano|
In – Laws in Spanish
When you get married to your sweetheart, their family is considered your “In-Laws”. Considering that you will probably spend a lot of time with them, learning these phrases might be a good idea. There are a lot of terms, but for now, we will stick to the simple ones:
|mother and father-in-law||los suegros|
Family in Spanish Grammar Rules
Rule #1: Gender & Noun Agreement
Nouns in Spanish, are classified into two: feminine and masculine. The feminine nouns end with “a” (mamá, hermana, tía) while the masculine nouns end with “o” (papá, hermano, tío).
However, when talking about a collective group, the nouns also change their gender. For family members in Spanish, the collective terms are the plural of the masculine nouns.
For example, if we are referring to “the sisters”, we can say las hermanas. But, if we are referring to the sisters and the brothers togethere, we say los hermanos.
Rule #2: Grammar Structure
There are many different grammar structures, that can help you make sentences about your family in Spanish, where you can even include adjectives about your family!
1. I have + # + family member
tengo + # + family member (hermanos / tíos / primos)
Tengo tres hermanos, dos primas, y tres tíos (I have three siblings, two cousins, and three uncles.)
Tengo 2 abuelos y 1 abuela. (I have two grandpa’s and one grandma.)
2. He / She + is + relationship to you
él / ella + es + relationship to you (mi máma , mi pápa , mi tío)
Él es mi pápa. (He is my father.)
Ella es mi máma. (She is my mother.)
él / ella + es + su + relationship (su máma , su pápa , su tío)
Él es su pápa. (He is her/his/their father.)
Ella es su máma. (She is her/his/their mother.)
él / ella + es + nuestra + relationship (nuestra máma , nuestra pápa , nuestra tío)
Él es nuestro pápa. (He is our father.)
Ella es nuestra máma. (She is our mother.)
3. Looks like someone
parecerse a alguien
Él se parece a mi pápa. (He looks like my father.)
Ella se parece a mi tía. (She looks like my aunt.)
Family in Spanish: Useful Phrases
Now that you understand the basic Spanish familial terms, the next step is to learn some phrases that can be used in conversation:
Don’t be shy, ask about their family members!
1. What’s your family like?
“¿Cómo es tu familia?”
2. “How is your family?”
“¿Cómo está tu familia?“
3. Do you have any siblings?
4. How many sisters do you have? / How many brothers do you have?
“¿Cuántas hermanas tienes?” / ”¿Cuántos hermanos tiene usted?”
5. Do you have nephews or nieces?
“¿Tienes sobrinos o sobrinas?”
You were invited to your Spanish friend’s family gathering, be prepared when they introduce you to their family:
1. She is my mom / He is my dad
“Ella es mi madre.” / ”El es mi padre.”
2. She is my sister / He is my brother
“Ella es mi hermana.” / ”El es mi hermano.”
3. These are my cousins
“Ellas/Ellos son mis primas/primos.”
4. They are my grandparents
“Ellas/Ellos son mis abuelos.”
5. “You have a beautiful family!”
“Tienes una hermosa familia!”.
(Complimenting the family will definitely win you some brownie points!)
When describing/talking about your family, try using the following phrases or learning nicknames in Spanish:
1. I have 3 cousins
“Tengo 3 primos.”
2. My family is doing well
“Mi familia esta bien.”
3. I have a big family / I have a small family
“Tengo una gran familia.” / “Tengo una familia pequeña.”
4. I’m adopted.
5. I love my family and miss them.
“Quiero mucho a mi familia y los extrańo.”
Become familiar with the Spanish language
Whether you want to look good when talking to the Spanish-speaking folks or want to start learning the language— you would find that learning about how to address family in Spanish can be extremely helpful, not to mention it is the best conversation starter!
Learning languages on your own can be a rather tedious task. Consider taking some online Spanish classes at AmazingTalker! With a wide selection of fantastic tutors and classes that suit your schedule, you’ll become a bona fide Spanish speaker in no time.