Family in Portuguese: Family Members & Vocabulary
- Thursday March 31st, 2022
- Posted by: Amanda Ennes
- Category: Learn the Portuguese Language and Portuguese Grammar
If you are curious to learn the vocabulary for family in Portuguese, just keep reading this blog post. Keep in mind that, in Brazil, the extended family is as important as your immediate family. Therefore, it is important to learn about all the family members in Portuguese.
In Brazil, it is very common for family members to meet up not only on birthdays, weddings, and Christmas but also on weekends and other dates. So, knowing all these words might be extremely useful if you marry into a Brazilian family.
Further reading: How To Teach Portuguese To Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend.
Immediate Family in Portuguese
Extended Family in Portuguese
In Brazil, your extended family is called ‘parentes’. Do not confuse it with the word parents, in English. This is a famous case of false cognates between the Portuguese and English languages.
Watch teacher Lennon’s video about false cognates in Portuguese.
Attention: In Portuguese, we do not have a specific word for step-siblings. For instance, you can use ‘filho do meu padrastro’ when talking about the son of your step-father.
Fun fact: In Brazil, you do not need to be married to call your in-laws, ‘sogro’ and ‘sogra’. The same happens for ‘cunhado’ and ‘cunhada’. Even if you are dating someone, as in a serious relationship, your in-laws are already your… Well, in-laws.
In Portuguese, we do have a word for a person’s brother or sister who has only one parent in common. We may call them ‘meio-irmão’ or ‘meia-irmã’. Nonetheless, the use of these words is not that common. Brazilians tend to refer to them as brother and sister regardless.
Too many cousins
In Brazil, it is not unusual for people to have a close relationship with much of their extended family. That includes second, third, or even fourth-degree relatives.Therefore, you may call them ‘primo de segundo grau’, ‘primo de terceiro grau’, and so on.
It is not unusual to see Brazilian children and teenagers calling growing ups ‘tio’ or ‘tia’, even if they are not really their uncles or aunts. In Brazil, it is common to use these words to affectionately call someone older than you.
Younger kids at school up until the fifth grade are also encouraged to call their teachers like this. It is a cultural thing and something that dates way back. That is also what many Brazilian kids call the older members of their friends’ family, the friends of their parents, and even their step-parents.
Likewise, it is also common for underprivileged kids and teenagers to call you ‘tio’ or ‘tia’ when asking you for money and food.
We have already talked about how Brazilians love to use nicknames. In fact, for Brazilians, this is a way of showing affection and intimacy. The same happens with family. Here are a few ways Brazilians can call their family members:
- Mother: mamãe, mamãezinha, mainha, mãezinha, mãezoca, mami, mamis.
- Father: papai, papaizinho, painho, paizinho, papi, papis, papito, paizão.
- Grandmother: vovó, voinha, vovozinha.
- Grandfather: vovô, voinho, vovozinho.
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