FAMILY vocabulary in Italian: learn how to talk about your genealogy!

Italians are, traditionally, deeply connected to their roots and family is one of the most important values. In today’s lesson we are going to describe you an example of family tree, so that you will learn new terms related to the family and then you will be able to talk about yours in Italian!

How to describe your family in Italian

We will use Graziana’s family tree to talk about family’s vocabulary!

“First of all, I would like to introduce my nonni materni (grandparents on my mother’s side), Agnese and Raffaele.

My maternal grandparents had 3 figli (children): Marco and Lucia (my zii (uncle and aunt)) and Teresa (my madre (mother)).

Teresa got married to Francesco (my padre (father)), giving birth to Gianni (my fratello maggiore (elder brother)), Marzia (my sorella minore (younger sister)) and Graziana (me!).

My zio (uncle) Marco, instead, got married to Paola (my zia acquisita (aunt by marriage)) and they had a figlia (daughter), my cugina (cousin) Marialuisa.

My aunt Lucia, is zitella (a spinster), so she has no children, but she has nipoti (nephews): Gianni, Marzia, Marialuisa and I.

My grandparents have, of course, 4 nipoti (grandchildren) and they are very happy when they see them!

My nonni paterni (grandparents on my father’s side), instead, had just 2 figli maschi (sons): my uncle Matteo and my father Francesco.

My uncle and my father are gemelli (twins): people often get them confused with each other!

My father, as you already know, got married to Teresa (my mother), while my uncle Matteo is scapolo (a bachelor), so he’s not married.

However, since he often felt lonely and depressed, he got 2 animali domestici (pets): a dog called Jack and a cat named Lulu.

And that’s all: now you know all my parenti (relatives)!”

Anyway, it could be useful to know other words related to the family, such as:

La suocera (mother-in-law), il suocero (father-in-law) = i suoceri (in-laws) are your partner’s parents

Il genero (son-in-law)/plural: i generi, la nuora (daughter-in-law)/plural: le nuore = your daughter’s/son’s husband or wife.

Il cognato (brother-in-law), la cognata (sister-in-law), plural: i cognati = they are relatives by marriage, since they are the husband or the wife of your siblings, or your partner’s siblings

Il padrino (godfather), la madrina (godmother) = person (within the family, but not only) who serves as sponsor for a child during religious ceremonies, for example at a Baptism or at Confirmation

La matrigna (stepmother), il patrigno (stepfather)= one of your parent’s new wife or new husband if they are widowed or divorced

Figliastro (stepson), figliastra (stepdaughter) = son or daughter that your partner had with another person

Sorellastra (step-sister), fratellastro (step-brother= female or male sibling by one parent or your parent’s new partner’s child (had with another person)

Bisnonno (great-grandfather), bisnonna (great-grandmother) = your grandparents’ parents

Procugino, procugina = your cousin’s child or your parents’ aunt and uncle’s child (your prozii (great-uncle and great-aunt))

Fidanzato/a (boyfriend/girlfriend) = in the past it defined the fiancé/e, the person you were going to marry. Nowadays, it is used for the person you have a relationship with, but you do not live together

Compagno/a  (partner= used by adults, it defines the “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” you live together with, even if you are not going to marry

When a man and a woman are married, you say that they are marito (husband) and moglie (wife).

Other terms to define married people are “coniugi” (il coniuge / la coniuge = spouse) or “consorti” (il consorte / la consorte = consort), but they are rarely used.

If two people live together (–> verb “convivere”) but they are not married, they are conviventi (live-in partners).

As you may have noticed, when you introduce your family, you need to use possessive adjectives, so we suggest that you brush up with us, reading our previous lessons –> Gli aggettivi possessivi (mio, tuo, suo, nostro, vostro, loro…) , also how to use “proprio/a” –> Cosa significa e come si usa: PROPRIO

Family vocabulary test

Now that you know my family, I have a quick test for you:

1 – How many cousins has Graziana?

A) 1

B) 2

C) 4

2 – How many grandchildren do Graziana’s maternal grandparents have?

A) 3

B) 4

C) 5

3 – How many nephews has aunt Lucia?

A) 2

B) 3

C) 4

4 – To Graziana, who’s Gianni?

A) il fratello (brother)

B) il cugino (cousin)

C) il nipote (nephew)

5 – How many sisters does Graziana’s mother have?

A) 0

B) 1

C) 2

6 – How many pets has aunt Lucia?

A) 0

B) 2

C) 3

7 – How many grandchildren do Graziana’s paternal grandparents have?

A) 2

B) 3

C) 4

You can find the solutions at the end of the video! We are waiting for your comments with your final score!

If you don’t want to stop studying, have a look at our video about the Italian vocabulary of fruits & vegetables!

And don’t forget to try Lingbe, the app for Android and iOS that makes you practice different languages for free!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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