Some parts of the Turkish language are quite easy compared to other languages. However one area where Turkish gets complicated is names of family members – yes that’s right – names of family members.
How many family member names in Turkish?
Well, first up there are different family names depending on which side of the family the person in questions is on. So many family titles will have two versions. Let’s take ‘uncle’ as an example. If your uncle is your mother’s brother then he will be referred to as ‘dayı’ but if your uncle is your father’s brother then he is your ‘amca’. The same concept for your aunties.
- Mother’s sister – teyze
- Father’s sister – hala
There are two forms for grandparents too but this quite easy to remember and quite sweet too. Your grandmother on mum’s side would your Mummymummy – Anneanne and your grandfather on your father’s side would be , go on have a guess…
… you got it – Babaanne!
Not so logical though for your grandfather though. On both sides the grandfather is generally just known as ‘Dede’.
There is even differentiation between your brothers. Your older brother is called your Abi. However a sense of equality is restored as your siblings are called ‘Kardeş’ whether they are male or female. You only have to add boy or girl to the front if you want to specify there gender.
- Kiz kardeş – sister
- Erkek kardeş – brother
Note – it’s very easy for a Turkish learner to mix up Kardeş and Arkadaş which will produce some funny looks.
“Kız kardeşimle yataktayim”…. “Oh no, no, no I meant kiz arkadaşım”
Here’s a chart of family names, let me know if I’ve missed any out.
- Mother – Anne
- Father – Baba
- Elder brother – Abi
- Brother – Erkek Kardeş
- Elder Sister – Abla
- Sister – Kiz Kardeş
- Husband – Koca
- Wife – Karı
- Son – Oğlu
- Daughter – Kız
- Grandchild – Torun
- Niece/nephew – Yeğen
- Cousin – Kuzen
Mother’s side of the family
- Grandmother – Anneanne
- Grandfather – Dede
- Aunty (mother’s sister) – Teyze
- Uncle (mother’s brother) – Dayı
Father’s side of the family
- Grandmother – Babaanne
- Grandfather – Büyükbaba
- Aunty (father’s sister) – Hala
- Uncle (father’s brother) – Amca
One big family
Once you have got your head around all the different family names the concept then takes a bit of a plot twist. In Turkey it’s very common for people to call friends and even strangers by a family name.
We are all related somehow
It’s perfectly normal to call your friends your brother or sister as well as when you ask a passer-by for directions. If the person is considerably older than you then they get an upgrade to uncle or aunty status. Although you need to be careful not to offend them as they might not have noticed age has caught up with them.
- Abi, saatınız var mı?
- Saat beş bucuk, kardeşim
- Sağol Abi
- Hey big bro, have you got the time?
- It's half five, brun
- Thanks big bro!
Ok, so now you are ready to learn some family names in Turkish. See if you can memorise them using these flashcards.
Time to meet your new family
That’s it for today – you have mastered family member names in Turkish. By doing so you have gained a new family of millions. You can now go out and address anyone as your bro, aunty or son.