Beginner German: Hear and Learn Words for Family Members

In this lesson,​ we introduce vocabulary and grammar related to talking about your family and yourself. You'll learn words and phrases that will let you talk about your own family in German, as well as understand what someone else says about his or her family. You can also listen to the vocabulary!

In addition to the members of a family (die Familie, dee fah-MILL-yah), you'll learn how to ask someone's name (and answer), talk about family relationships and give the ages of people. We will also discuss the difference between the formal and informal "you" in German - a vital cultural and language distinction that English-speakers need to understand!

Cognates

One of the first things you'll notice is that many of the German words for the family are similar to the English terms. It is easy to see the close Germanic language "family resemblance" between ​brother/Bruderfather/Vater, or daughter/Tochter. We call these similar words in two languages cognates. There are a lot of English-German cognates for the family. Others are familiar because of common Latin or French origins: family/Familieuncle/Onkel, etc.

After you have studied this lesson, you will be able to read and understand a short paragraph in German about your or someone else's family. You'll even be able to draw your own family tree (Stammbaum) in German!

AUDIO: Click on the German phrases linked below to hear them.

Familienmitglieder - Family Members

Notice in the phrases below that when you talk about a feminine (die) person (or thing), the possessive pronoun mein ends in e. When talking about a masculine (der) person (or thing),​ mein has no ending in the nominative (subject) case. Other possessive forms (sein, his; dein, your, etc.) work the same way. The final e in German is always pronounced: (meine = MINE-ah)

Deutsch English
die Mutter - meine Mutter

mother - my mother

der Vater - mein Vater

father - my father

die Eltern - meine Eltern (pl.)

parents - my parents

der Sohn - sein Sohn

son - his son

die Tochter - seine Tochter

daughter - his daughter

der Bruder - ihr Bruder

brother - her brother

die Schwester - seine Schwester

sister - his sister

AUDIO (mp3 or wav) for These Words

 

die Geschwister - meine Geschwister (pl.)

siblings / brothers & sisters - my brothers and sisters

die Großmutter - meine Großmutter

grandmother - my grandmother

die Oma - meine Oma

grandma/granny - my grandma

der Großvater - dein Großvater

grandfather - your grandfather

der Opa - sein Opa

grandpa/gramps - his grandpa

der Enkelsohn - mein Enkelsohn

grandson - my grandson

die Enkelin - seine Enkelin

granddaughter - his granddaughter

More family words in the German Family Glossary.