Family Systems in India
Wherever man goes, he tends to form and forge relations and ties. Some relatives are those with which we are born and some we acquire as we go through the journey of life. In a country like India, many families are still following the joint family system. The joint family system is a system in which the descendants of a common ancestor stay together. For example, a man may live under the same roof with his two sons, their wives and children. They have a common kitchen. Such a family is called a joint family. In contrast to this is a nuclear family, comprised of an individual unit, an individual family; i.e., – a man, his wife and children. In India, a family is the center of many social activities and functions. [caption id=“attachment_130651” align=“aligncenter” width=“640”] Many Hindi speakers also understand the “westernized” versions of these terms[/caption] People in India tend to have and enjoy spending time with extended family members and relatives. Each relation has a unique name and its own charm. Joint families, large families and extended families all are acceptable. Families lay a lot of stress on protocol of behavior and address. The names for maternal and paternal relatives are different. Below is presented a list of Hindi vocabulary related to relationships and their corresponding words. Please note it is not a comprehensive list and some words may be absent. You’ll also see the names of relations using Devnagiri script.
Mother: Maa(माँ) Father: Baap (बाप) Pitah (पिता) Paternal Grandfather: Dada (दादा) Paternal Grandmother: Dadi (दादी) Father’s (Elder) Brother: Taya (ताया) Father’s (Elder) Brother’s Wife: Tayi (तायी) Father’s (Younger) Brother: Chacha (चाचा) Father’s (Younger) Brother’s Wife: Chachi (चाची) Father’s Sister: Bua (बुआ) Father’s Sister’s Husband: Phupha (pronounced as Fuffa) (फुफा) Maternal Grandmother: Naani (नानी) Maternal Grandfather: Nana (नाना) Mother’s Brother: Mama (मामा) Mother’s Brother’ Wife: Maami (मामी) Mother’s Sister: Maasi (मासी) Mother’s Sister’s Husband: Maasad ( माँसड़) Son: Beta (बेटा) Daughter: Beti (बेटी) Grandson (Son’s Son): Potaa (पोता) Grandson (Daughter’s Son): Naatii (नाती), Navasa (नवासा) Granddaughter (Son’s Daughter): Potii (पोती) Granddaughter (Daughter’s Daughter): Naatin (नातिन), Navaasii (न्वासी) Sister: Behan (बहन) Sister’s Husband Jiija (जीजा) Sister’s Son : Bhanja (भांजा) Sister’s Daughter: Bhanji (भांजी) Brother: Bhai (भाई) Brother’s Wife: Bhabhi (भाभी) Brother’s Son : Bhatija (भतीजा) Brother’s Daughter: Bhatiji (भतीजी) Husband: Pati (पती) Wife: Patni (पत्नी) Wife’s/ Husband’s Mother: Saas (सास) Wife’s/ Husband’s Father: Sasur (ससुर) Son in Law: Damaad (दामाद) Daughter in Law: Bahu (बहु) Husband’s (elder) Brother: Jeth (जेठ) Husband’s (elder) Brother’s Wife: Jethanii (जेठानी) Husband’s Sister: Nanad (ननद) Husband’s Sister’s Husband: Nandoii (ननदोइ) Husband’s (younger) Brother: Devar (देवर) Husband’s (younger) Brother’s Wife: Devaraanii (देवरानी) Wife’s Sister: Saalii (साली) Wife’s Sister’s Husband: Saadhuu (सांढु) Wife’s Brother: Salaa (साला) Wife’s Brother’s Wife: Salhaj (सैलहज) As a mark of respect suffix -Ji (pronounced as ‘g’) is added to the name of relations with elders; for example; Chachaji, Dadiji. Prefixes like chota (meaning younger) and bada (meaning elder) are added with relations like brother and sister. Today, English words like Mummy, Papa, Daddy, Uncle, Auntie, Cousin, and Nephew are very common and well accepted in the Indian society. In fact, one would hardly find a child calling his mother Mataji or his father Pitaji. We have Indianized these words by using the suffix -ji; so words like Uncleji, Auntieji are easily understood and acceptable. Calling a relationship by its unique name has its own attraction; it helps to create a different kind of magnetism. A list of additional Hindi vocabulary is available for download. More can be read on names of family relations in Hindi at: Hindi/Family relations. You will also find many more Hindi vocabulary guides here on BrightHub Education.