Monday, February 22, 2010

Family members in Italian

Madre mother
Padre father
Genitori parents
Parenti relatives
Figlio child
Fratello brother
Sorella sister
Marito husband
Moglie wife
Sposo groom
Sposa bride
Coniuge spouse
Vedovo widower
Vedova widow
Divorziato/a divorced
Separato/a separated, usually legally
Zio uncle
Zia aunt
Cugino/a cousin
Nipote nephew/grandson
Nipote niece/granddaughter
Nonno grandfather
Nonna grandmother
Bisnonno great-grandfather
Bisnonna great-grandmother
Suocero father-in-law
Suocera mother-in-law
Suoceri in-laws
Consuoceri the married couple's parents in relation to each other
Cognato brother-in-law
Cognata sister-in-law
Genero son-in-law
Nuora daughter-in-law
Fratellastro half-brother, step-brother
Sorellastra half-sister, step-sister
Matrigna step-mother
Patrigno step-father
Figlio adottivo adopted child
Figliastro step-child
Madrina godmother
Padrino godfather
Acquisito by marriage (literally, acquired)
Maggiore, minore older, younger (of siblings)
Ex- as in English

Some notes on usage. The closest family relationships do not take the possessive adjective in the singular, unlike other Italian nouns e.g. mio fratello but la mia casa, i miei fratelli. I miei genitori and i suoi genitori are often replaced by the shortened i miei or i suoi e.g. i miei stanno a Londra, my parents are in London. Figlio stands for "child," the masculine being inclusive for both genders. This is also true of fratelli used for "siblings." Thus, to ask if someone has children or brothers and sisters, you say: "Ha figli?" or "Ha fratelli?" respectively. Note that nipote can indicate nephew, niece, grandson, granddaugher, distinguished by grammatical form e.g. la nipote, niece, and context i.e. a younger person is not likely to have grandchildren. Grandchildren will often be referred to as nipotini while they are still little; this is not used for nephews and nieces, no matter how small. Italian diffidence toward non-traditional families is shown by the negative suffixes -astro and -igno.

This post will be followed shortly by another post with an exercise on the above and their usage.

(In the picture, Cenerentola with her new marito, the principe, with mean matrigna and big-footed sorellastre, on the left, good madrina on the right, two unidentified, uniformed signori, two happy topi and one sneaky gatto)