Sometime during my first year of language learning (back in 1990), our teacher tried to teach us the various terms used to describe family relationships in Chinese: mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, etc. It was useful stuff, since we were all anxious to talk about our families in Chinese. We usually did fine as long as things were confined to the immediate family.
Then came the day our teacher branched off into relationships further out (cousins, in-laws, grandparents). Our eyes glazed over and our brains shut down. Watch this video clip to see why. ( “The Complicated Family Tree,” from OfftheGreatWall)
Our mutual friend Heather Music pointed me to this blog post. Haha, very true. And that’s only in Mandarin. In my cultural environment, with Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, etc. to contend with as well.
I only know the terms for the actual older relatives I have. Fortunately for me, my wife’s family just uses “uncle” and “aunt” for everyone ^‿^
Sorry, “Heather Gentry” not “Heather Music” (I first knew her as “Heather Music” :p)