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Learn the Chinese Characters to Build Younger Extended Chinese Family Structures

written by: Sujanti Djuanda•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/19/2010

Chinese families are hierarchical and paternal, (father’s families are internal and mother’s families are external). There is a title for each immediate and extended family member on both paternal and maternal side. Generally, they're built from the same radicals/characters in different combinations

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    This is the continued part of combining Chinese Characters to Build Family Relationship Names. Here you learn how the radicals are built up into compound characters that express different family relationships in Younger Extended Chinese family structure.

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    1). Extended Chinese Family Tree: Brothers-in-law and Sisters-in-law

    嫂【sǎo= older brother’s wife, older sister-in-law】 in which 女【nǚ】is used as a radical describing female.

    and

    子【zǐ= person】becomes

    嫂子【sǎozi= older brother's wife, older sister-in law, the literal meaning is older brother’s wife person】

    弟【dì= younger brother】

    and

    媳【xí= daughter-in-law】becomes

    弟媳【dìxí= younger brother’s wife, younger sister-in-law, the literal meaning is younger brother daughter-in-law】

    姐【jiě= older sister】

    and

    夫【fū= husband, man】becomes

    姐夫【jiěfu= older sister's husband, older brother-in-law, the literal meaning is older sister husband】

    妹【mèi= younger sister】

    and

    夫【fū= husband, man】becomes

    妹夫【mèifu= younger sister's husband, younger brother-in-law, the literal meaning is younger sister husband】

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    2). Chinese Family Tree: Son-in-law and daughter-in-law

    媳【xí= daughter-in-law】

    and

    妇【fù= woman, wife】becomes

    媳妇【xífù= son's wife, daughter-in-law, the literal meaning is daughter-in-law wife】

    女【nǚ=female】

    and

    婿【xù= son-in-law, husband】becomes

    女婿【nǚxu= daughter’s husband, son-in-law, the literal meaning is female son-in-law】

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    3). Younger Extended Chinese Family Structure: Cousins

    堂【táng=(paternal) relationship between cousins】

    and

    哥【gē= older brother】becomes

    堂哥【tánggē= (paternal) older male cousin, the literal meaning is (paternal) relationship between cousins older brother】

    堂【táng=(paternal) relationship between cousins】

    and

    弟【dì= younger brother】becomes

    【tángdì= (paternal) younger male cousin, the literal meaning is (paternal) relationship between cousins younger brother】

    堂【táng=(paternal) relationship between cousins】

    and

    姐【jiě= older sister】becomes

    堂姐【tángjiě= (paternal) older female cousin, (paternal) relationship between cousins older sister】

    堂【táng=(paternal) relationship between cousins】

    and

    妹【mèi= younger sister】becomes

    堂姝【tángmèi= (paternal) younger female cousin, (paternal) relationship between cousins younger sister】

    表【biǎo= (maternal) relationship between the cousins】

    and

    哥【gē= older brother】becomes

    表哥【biǎogē= (maternal) older male cousin, the literal meaning is (maternal) relationship between cousins older brother】

    表【biǎo= (maternal) relationship between the cousins】

    and

    弟【dì= younger brother】becomes

    表弟【biǎodì= (maternal) younger male cousin, the literal meaning is (maternal) relationship between cousins younger brother】

    表【biǎo= (maternal) relationship between the cousins】

    and

    姐【jiě= older sister】becomes

    表姐【biǎojiě= (maternal) older female cousin, the literal meaning is (maternal) relationship between cousins older sister】

    表【biǎo= (maternal) relationship between the cousins】

    and

    妹【mèi= younger sister】becomes

    表姝【biǎomèi= (maternal) younger female cousin, the literal meaning is (maternal) relationship between cousins younger sister】

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    4). Extended Chinese Family Structure: Nephews and Nieces

    侄【zhí= brother's son, nephew】

    and

    子【zǐ= child, son】becomes

    侄子【zhízi= brother's son, nephew, the literal meaning is brother’s son son】

    外【wài= external】

    and

    甥【shēng= sister's son, nephew】becomes

    外甥【wàisheng= sister's son, nephew, the literal meaning is external sister’s son】

    侄【zhí= brother's son, nephew】

    and

    女 【nǚ=female】becomes

    侄女【zhínǚ= brother's daughter, niece, the literal meaning is brother’s son female】

    外【wài= external】,

    甥【shēng= sister's son, nephew】

    and

    女 【nǚ=female】 becomes

    外甥女【wàishengnǚ= sister's daughter, niece, the literal meaning is external sister’s son female】

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    5). Younger Extended Chinese Family Structure: Nephew’s wife and Niece’s husband

    侄【zhí= brother's son, nephew】,

    女 【nǚ=female】

    and

    婿【xù= son-in-law; husband】becomes

    侄女婿【zhínǚxù= husband of brother's daughter, niece's husband, the literal meaning is nephew female husband】

    侄【zhí= brother's son, nephew】,

    媳【xí= daughter-in-law】

    and

    妇【fù= woman, wife】

    侄媳妇【zhíxífu=wife of brother's son, nephew’s wife, the literal meaning is nephew daughter-in-law wife】

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    6). Younger Chinese Family Tree: Grandsons and Granddaughters

    孙【sūn= grandson】

    and

    子【zǐ= child】becomes

    孙子【sūnzi= grandson, the literal meaning is grandson child】

    外【wài= external】

    and

    孙【sūn= grandson】 becomes

    外孙【wàisūn= daughter's son, grandson, the literal meaning is external grandson】

    孙【sūn= grandson】

    and

    女 【nǚ=female】becomes

    孙女【sūnnǚ= granddaughter, the literal meaning is grandson female】

    外【wài= external】,

    孙【sūn= grandson】

    and

    女 【nǚ=female】becomes

    外孙女【wàisūnnǚ= daughter's daughter; granddaughter, the literal meaning is external grandson female】

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    7). Much Younger Extended Family: Great Grandsons and Great Granddaughters

    曾【zēng= relationship between great-grandchildren and great-grandparents】

    and

    孙【sūn= grandson】 becomes

    曾孙【zēngsūn= great-grandson, the literal meaning is relationship between great-grandchildren and great-grandparents grandson】

    曾【zēng= relationship between great-grandchildren and great-grandparents】,

    孙【sūn= grandson】

    and

    女 【nǚ=female】becomes

    曾孙女【zēngsūnnǚ= great-granddaughter, the literal meaning is relationship between great-grandchildren and great-grandparents grandson female】