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German for Beginners

Lesson 9: Meine Familie und ich

Talking about family and relations

With audio

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!

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/Bruder, father/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/Familie, uncle/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 a German phrase to hear it (.wav)
> More Lesson 9 Audio: MP3 or wav

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 Englisch
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 our Family Glossary.

In the next part of this lesson you'll learn how to talk about your family and ask/answer questions related to the family.

NEXT > Lesson 9 - Part 2 > Part 3

Related Lessons and Exercises

Listen to mp3 or wav audio for these words.

Family Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary of family vocabulary.

Exercises for this Lesson

Previous Lesson (Lektion 8)

Next Lesson (Lektion 10)

German for Beginners - Contents

Related Pages

Family Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary of family vocabulary.

You and thou, Sie und du
When to use Sie and du can be a problem for English-speakers, who long ago lost "thou" from their own language. With self-scoring quiz.

Tutor Directory
Find a tutor to help you with your German!

English-German Glossaries
All of the annotated glossaries on this site - from aerospace to travel.

German Grammar
All of the grammar resources on this site.

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