Family in Russian

Vocabulary to use when talking about the family in Russian. Differences between the English and the Russian names for family members and relatives.

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Family in Russian (Din A4)

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Differences between the English and the Russian names for family members and relatives

  • In Russian, there are no words for siblings or grandparents. The Russians say “brothers and sisters” or “grandma and grandpa”.
  • As for the parents-in-law, in Russian you have to specify if you are talking about the parents of the wife or of the husband.
  • In English, one’s sibling-in-law can be the spouse of one’s sibling or the sibling of one’s spouse. In Russian, however, the specific names for these type of relations are almost out of use. The special words for “in-laws” were included in the table below and marked as “old”. You can come across them in the Russian literature, especially in the works of such authors as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky or Chekhov. Today, instead of using these special terms, you name the exact relation saying “brother of the husband”, “sister of the wife”, etc.

Relatives and family in Russian

Note on the declension:

  • The words “папа” (papa), “дедушка” (grandpa) and “дядя” (uncle) denominate male persons. But as they end in -А or -Я, they are declined like female nouns.
  • In possessive constructions such as “жена брата” (wife of a brother), “муж сестры” (husband of a sister) or “родители жены” (parents of the wife), the second noun is placed in the genitive case.

Notes on the pronunciation in Russian:

  • Stressed vowels are highlighted red in words of more than one syllable.
  • The symbol [ʲ] (superscript j) indicates soft consonants.
English Russian with Transliteration
family семья
[simjá]
family member член семьи
[chlʲen simjí]
parents родители
[radítili]
mother мать
[matʲ]
mom, mum мама
[máma]
father отец
[atʲéts]
dad папа
[pápa]
children дети
[dʲéti]
daughter дочь
[doch]
дочка
[dóchka]
son сын
[syn]
sibling
literal: brothers and sisters
братья и сёстры
[brátja i sʲóstry]
sister сестра
[sistrá]
elder sister старшая сестра
[stárshyja sistrá]
younger sister младшая сестра
[mlátshyja sistrá]
stepsister сводная сестра
[svódnaja sistrá]
brother брат
[brat]
elder brother старший брат
[stárshyj brat]
younger brother младший брат
[mlátshyj brat]
stepbrother сводный брат
[svódnyj brat]
twins (identical) близнецы
[bliznitsý]
twins (fraternal) двойняшки
[dvaynʲáshki]
twin-sister (identical) сестра-близнец
[sistrá-bliznʲets]
twin-sister (fraternal) сестра-двойняшка
[sistrá-dvaynʲáshka]
twin-brother (identical) брат-близнец
[brat-bliznʲets]
twin-brother (fraternal) брат-двойняшка
[brat-dvaynʲáshka]
grandparents
literal: grandma and grandpa
grandmas and grandpas
бабушка и дедушка
[bábushka i dʲédushka]
oder in Plural:
бабушки и дедушки
[bábushki i dʲédushki]
grandma / grandmother бабушка
[bábushka]
grandpa / grandfather дедушка
[dʲédushka]
great-grandmother прабабушка
[prabábushka]
great-grandfather прадедушка
[pradʲédushka]
grandchildren внуки
[vnúki]
granddaughter внучка
[vnúchka]
grandson внук
[vnuk]
aunt тётя
[tʲótʲa]
uncle дядя
[dʲádʲa]
cousin sister двоюродная сестра
[dvayúradnaja sistrá]
cousin brother двоюродный брат
[dvayúradnyj brat]
wife жена
[zhyná]
husband муж
[mush]
sister-in-law
your brother’s wife жена брата
[zhyná bráta]
sister of your husband сестра мужа
[sistrá múzha]
old: золовка
[zalóvka]
sister of your wife сестра жены
[sistrá zhyný]
old: свояченица
[svayáchinitsa]
brother-in-law
your sister’s husband муж сестры
[mush sistrý]
brother of your husband брат мужа
[brat múzha]
old: деверь
[dʲévérʲ]
brother of your wife брат жены
[brat zhyný]
old: шурин
[shúrin]
nephew племянник
[plimʲánik]
niece племянница
[plimʲánitsa]
parents-in-law
parents of your wife родители жены
[radítili zhyný]
parents of your husband родители мужа
[radítili múzha]
mother-in-law
mother of your wife тёща
[tʲóshsha]
mother of your husband свекровь
[svikrofʲ]
father-in-law
father of your wife тесть
[tʲéstʲ]
father of your husband свёкор
 [svʲókr]
daughter-in-law невестка
[nivʲéstka]
son-in-law зять
[zʲátʲ]
relatives родственники
[rótstvʲiniki]
female relative родственница
[rótstvʲinitsa]
male relative родственник
[rótstvʲinik]

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