Family in German: 30+ Phrases to Talk About Family in German

Imagine this scenario: You’ve just met someone new, and you want to introduce your family to them. But you don’t know the words in German to talk about your family members. This can make the situation quite awkward and complicated. Don’t worry, though – we’ve got you covered!

Spring German, a project I co-founded, made a great video on how you can speak about your family in German:

In this blog post, we’ll explore essential German vocabulary and phrases to help you talk about your family in German like a native speaker.

1. Learn German phrases about your immediate family in German: Die Familie

When learning a new language like German, one of the first things you’ll need to know is how to talk about your immediate family.

This includes words like “mother,” “father,” “parents,” “siblings,” “brother,” “sister,” “son,” and “daughter.” Knowing these basic German family words will help you get started on your language learning journey.

GermanEnglish
die Muttermother
der Vaterfather
die Elternparents
die Geschwistersiblings
der Bruderbrother
die Schwestersister
der Sohnson
die Tochterdaughter
die Ehefrauwife
der Ehemannhusband
der Papadad
die Mamamom

These words are essential for introducing your immediate family members and talking about your nuclear family in German. Of course, learning the pronunciation of these words is just as important as knowing their meaning, so practice German pronunciation!

2. Talk about extended German family: Oma & Opa

Once you’ve mastered the immediate family vocabulary, it’s time to extend your knowledge to include extended family members.

This is where you’ll learn words like “grandmother,” “grandfather,” “aunt,” “uncle,” and “cousin.”

These terms are important for discussing your larger family tree and family history in German.

GermanEnglish
die Omagrandmother
der Opagrandfather
die Tanteaunt
der Onkeluncle
der Cousinmale cousin
die Cousinefemale cousin
die Großelterngrandparents
die Nichteniece
der Neffenephew

Why learn these new words? Well, they come in handy when you’re discussing family gatherings, traditions and heritage. It’s time to share your family stories with your new friends!

3. When someone new comes to family in German: Die Schwiegereltern

Introducing new people to your family can be a huge event. We all know the feeling of having the first interaction with in-laws and stepparents.

In German, there are specific terms for these family members that you’ll want to know. Familiarize yourself with words like “mother-in-law,” “father-in-law,” “son-in-law,” “daughter-in-law,” “stepmother,” and “stepfather” to make communication smooth, even in the most nerve-wracking situations.

GermanEnglish
die Schwiegermuttermother-in-law
der Schwiegervaterfather-in-law
der Schwiegersohnson-in-law
die Schwiegertochterdaughter-in-law
die Stiefmutterstepmother
der Stiefvaterstepfather

Here’s how this could be used in a real-life scenario:

Sarah: Ich bin so aufgeregt, deine Familie heute kennenzulernen! Wie heißen nochmal deine Schwiegereltern? [I’m so excited to meet your family today! What are your in-laws’ names again?]
Michael: Meine Schwiegermutter heißt Greta, und mein Schwiegervater ist Walter. [My mother-in-law is named Greta, and my father-in-law is Walter.]
Michael: Meine Schwiegermutter wird sehr erfreut sein, dass du die richtigen Begriffe auf Deutsch kennst. Das zeigt Respekt für unsere Familientradition. [My mother-in-law will be very pleased that you know the correct terms in German. It shows respect for our family tradition.]
Sarah: Ich habe hart daran gearbeitet, die Verwandtschaftsbezeichnungen zu lernen. Eine glückliche Schwiegermutter ist mir sehr wichtig! [I’ve worked hard to learn the family relationship terms. Having a happy mother-in-law is very important to me!]

4. Verbs and expressions to talk about family in German

In addition to nouns, it’s essential to learn verbs and expressions that will allow you to talk about your family in more detail. These phrases will help you describe relationships, discuss family dynamics, and share anecdotes about your loved ones.

GermanEnglish
Ich habe zwei Brüder.I have two brothers.
Meine Eltern sind geschieden.My parents are divorced.
Wir sind eine große Familie.We are a big family.
Meine Cousine ist verheiratet.My cousin is married.
Meine Tante hat drei Kinder.My aunt has three children.
Wir sind sehr eng miteinander verbunden.We are very close to each other.
Mein Opa lebt auf dem Land.My grandfather lives in the countryside.
Meine Familie ist meine Stärke.My family is my strength.

These phrases will help you communicate more effectively about your family in German. They’ll allow you to share personal stories, describe relationships, and express your feelings towards your loved ones.

Let’s take a look at how you can use these expressions in a dialogue:

Anna: Ich habe zwei Brüder. [I have two brothers.] Meine Eltern sind geschieden. [My parents are divorced.]
Lena: Oh, das tut mir leid zu hören. Aber wenigstens seid ihr eine große Familie. [Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. But at least you are a big family.]
Anna: Ja, genau. Meine Cousine ist auch verheiratet und meine Tante hat drei Kinder. [Yes, exactly. My cousin is also married and my aunt has three children.] Wir sind sehr eng miteinander verbunden. [We are very close to each other.]
Lena: Das klingt wunderbar! Mein Opa lebt auf dem Land, daher sehen wir ihn nicht so oft. [That sounds wonderful! My grandfather lives in the countryside, so we don’t see him as often.]
Anna: Ja, Familie ist einfach das Wichtigste. Meine Familie ist meine Stärke. [Yes, family is simply the most important thing. My family is my strength.]

5. Good-to-know family phrases in German – Practice Worksheet

Fill in the blanks with the correct German vocabulary based on the context provided.

This isn’t everything we have to offer: click the button to request access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

6. Learn how to talk about family history with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning to talk about family in German goes beyond just memorizing vocabulary lists. To master this important part of any language, it’s important to use effective learning techniques like Conversation Based Chunking method.

Conversation Based Chunking involves learning phrases and expressions in their full conversational context, rather than just studying isolated words. This mimics how we naturally learn a language from a young age – by hearing and repeating full expressions used in real-life situations.

When learning to discuss family in German, repeat the common phrases out loud, visualize the family situations they describe, and use them in practice conversations.

As you build up a mental database of these conversational chunks related to family, you’ll start putting them together more fluidly. Talking about your extended family, in-laws, and family histories in German will feel more natural over time.

I have one more tip for you: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s all part of the language learning process!

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