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Turkish Language Family Guide

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When learning Turkish, “family” is one of the topics you need to be able to talk about because in all areas of life, you will be frequently hearing about family.

“I was late because I had to take my daughter to school this morning.” “I am unhappy because my in-laws will be staying with us all summer long.” “My brother is the problem child.” “The relatives of the old woman are waiting for her to die to get the inheritance.” “My cousin is an idiot.” Do any of these sentences sound familiar in terms of context? Most probably yes! These are some sentences you may hear from a colleague, a friend, a family member etc. in your daily life.

You will not only hear about family, but you will also have to talk about it and need family vocabulary because “family” is always a good conversation starter.

In this article, first of all, the Turkish family structure, which will create a communication ground for you, will be mentioned, and then the vocabulary related to family and idioms and proverbs that involve family in Turkish will be explained.

A Family Camping

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Family Life in Turkey
  2. General Vocabulary for Family in Turkish
  3. Turkish Vocabulary for Family Members Who are Related by Blood
  4. Turkish Vocabulary for Family Members Who are not Related by Blood
  5. Questions and Answers about Family
  6. Idioms and Proverbs about family and family members
  7. All About the Turkish Language and the Culture

1. Family Life in Turkey

Turkish culture is family oriented. Family ties are really strong in Turkey. Although there have been changes in the culture regarding family life, certain things such as family support, family members living close to one another, coming together for holidays and the respect for the elderly remained unchanged.

It’s common that single grown-up children no matter at what age they are continue to live with their parents. This has recently started to change in urban areas, though. Also, some nuclear families live with grandparents. In general, patriarchal culture is dominant. Let’s see what other features a typical Turkish family has.

A- Marriage

Marriage age, type, and related traditions between urban and rural areas often differ. Let’s see what kind of differences exist in Turkish marriage and family life in different parts of Turkey:

  • In rural areas

Families in Turkey usually expect their children to get married and have kids. In rural areas, people, especially women get married at early ages. Arranged marriages are more common in rural areas.

Weddings are more traditional in the backlands.

  • In urban areas

Arranged marriages exist in urban areas, too. However, modern Turkish families in urban areas are more supportive of dating. Arranged marriages are getting less and less in bigger cities every day. On the other hand, unfortunately the divorce rate is getting higher.

Average age of marriage in bigger cities is higher than that of the rural areas.

B- Family structure

Rural areas have different family structures than urban regions. Some differences will be highlighted below.

  • In rural areas

In rural areas, usually extended families live all together. Children are important in Turkish families. However, especially in rural areas there is usually a preference for boys over girls. Although this inclination does not often affect the way they are raised and their family’s expectations of them, in rural places, girls are usually raised to be more passive and boys are encouraged to be more dominant.

  • In urban areas

There is more emphasis on the nuclear family concept in urban areas. However, there are some families who live with grandparents.

As indicated above, Turkish people value children very much. In urban areas, people usually have 2 to 3 children. On the other hand, in rural areas, couples usually have many children; in some regions 10-12 kids are not uncommon.

2.   General Vocabulary for Family in Turkish

Here are some general Turkish family words for your reference:

TurkishEnglish
AileFamily
Aile bireyleri/fertleri/üyeleriFamily members
Aile yapısıFamily structure
Aile bağlarıFamily ties
Aile ilişkileriFamily relations
AkrabalarRelatives
AtaAncestor
Soy ağacıFamily tree

Family Tree

3.   Turkish Vocabulary for Family Members Who are Related by Blood

A- Vocabulary for nuclear family

Here is the vocabulary for the nuclear family members (parents and children) in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
AnneMother
BabaFather
EbeveynParent
Çocuk/ÇocuklarChild/Children
Kız evlatDaughter
Erkek evlatSon
KardeşSibling
Kız kardeşYounger sister
AblaOlder sister
Erkek kardeşYounger brother
AğabeyOlder brother

B- Vocabulary for extended family

Below is a list of extended family members in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
BüyükanneGrandmother
Büyükbaba/DedeGrandfather
AnneanneMaternal grandmother
BabaannePaternal grandmother
TorunGrandchild
Kız torunGranddaughter
Erkek torunGrandson
TeyzeMaternal aunt
HalaPaternal aunt
DayıMaternal uncle
AmcaPaternal uncle
YeğenNiece/nephew
KuzenCousin

4.  Turkish Vocabulary for Family Members Who are not Related by Blood

A- Couples

Here are the words you can use to introduce your partner in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
Spouse/Partner
KarıWife
KocaHusband
Eski eşEx-spouse
Eski karıEx-wife
Eski kocaEx-husband

B- In-laws

Once you get married, your family grows and then you have many “in-laws.” Here is how you can call your in-laws in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
Kayınvalide/kaynanaMother in-law
KayınpederFather in-law
GelinDaughter in-law
DamatSon in-law
BaldızSister in-law (Wife’s sister)
GörümceSister in-law (Husband’s sister)
KayınbiraderBrother in-law (Husband’s brother)
BacanakBrother in-law (Wife’s sister’s husband)

C- Recomposed family

Sometimes marriages don’t work out and when you remarry someone, a new family is established together with the children of the previous marriages. In such a case, you can define family relations with the following Turkish words:

TurkishEnglish
Üvey anneStepmother
Üvey babaStepfather
Üvey çocukStepchild
Üvey kızStepdaughter
Üvey oğulStepson
Üvey kız kardeşYounger stepsister
Üvey ablaOlder stepsister
Üvey erkek kardeşYounger stepbrother
Üvey ağabeyOlder stepbrother

Recomposed Family

D- Others

You might find this interesting, but we have separate words for uncle’s wife and aunt’s husband in Turkish. These words help us understand specifically whom you are talking about.

TurkishEnglish
YengeAunt (maternal and paternal uncle’s wife)
EnişteUncle (maternal and paternal aunt’s husband)

5.   Questions and Answers about Family

There will be times when you will need to ask family and kinship related questions and there will be other times when you’ll be exposed to questions about your own family. Therefore, it might be a good idea to take a look at the questions and answers below.

Question in TurkishAnswer in TurkishQuestion in EnglishAnswer in English
Evli misiniz?Evet evliyim/Hayır bekarım.Are you married?Yes, I am married. /No, I’m single.
Çocuğunuz var mı?Evet, iki tane var.Do you have a child?Yes, I have two.
Anneniz sağ mı?Hayır, iki sene önce öldü.Is your mother alive?No, she died two years ago.
Kaç kardeşiniz var?Ben tek çocuğum.How many siblings do you have?I’m the only child.
Ebeveynleriniz ile mi yaşıyorsunuz.?Hayır, yalnız yaşıyorum.Are you living with your parents?No, I am living alone.
Eşiniz nerede çalışıyor?O, bir bankada çalışıyor.Where does your spouse work?She works at a bank.

Questions

6.   Idioms and Proverbs about family and family members

Idioms and proverbs provide an insight into the culture of a country and inspire us.

How about learning some of the well-known idioms and proverbs in Turkish that contain family vocabulary or themes to impress your Turkish friends and colleagues?

A- Idioms

TurkishEnglish
Baba ocağıFamily home
Ana kuzusuMama’s boy
Aile yadigarıFamily heirloom
Baba nasihatıFatherly advice
Anne-baba ahı almakTo be cursed by the mother/father for one’s cruelty
Yuva kurmakTo start a family
Yuva yıkmakBreak up a family
Analı babalı büyümek

Note: This is usually used as a good wish when a baby is born.
Grow up with a mother and a father

Idioms

B- Proverbs

TurkishEnglish
Çocuk evin meyvesidir.Child is the fruit of a home.
Teyze ana yarısıdır.Maternal aunt is half of a mother.
Kız halaya, oğlan dayıya çeker.Daughter resembles the paternal aunt and the son resembles the maternal uncle.
Çocuktan al haberi.Children and fools tell the truth.
Büyük baba koruk yermiş, torununun dişi kamaşırmış.Literally: Grandfather eats unripe grapes, grandchild’s teeth get sensitive.

It means that if someone does something wrong, his/her children or grandchildren will pay the price for his mistake.
Yuvayı dişi kuş yapar. Man makes house, woman makes home.

Literally: The nest is built by the female bird.

If you are interested in learning more Turkish proverbs, click here.

7.   All About the Turkish Language and the Culture

In this article, you learned about the Turkish family structure and the vocabulary for family members in Turkish. However, there is always more to know!

Therefore, visit TurkishClass101, which has numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists and free resources including the dictionary you can refer to, in order to get a better grasp of Turkish language and the culture.

Don’t forget that there is also MyTeacher, which is the premium service of TurkishClass101 that you can use to practice with a private teacher.

Do you know what is also good about it? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not the least; please continue to provide us feedback about all the resources provided at TurkishClass101!

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