Talking About Your Family in Russian: Vocabulary and Phrases

In this lesson I will teach you some words and phrases to describe your family in Russian. Talking about families can be a part of everyday conversation. When you make an introduction, someone can ask you about your family because this is an important part of our lives.

At first we will learn how all the family members are called in Russian. There are a very useful vocabulary below.

Family members in Russian

In the following list you can find the names of the family members in Russian.

родители - parents (родитель - a parent)

мать - mother (мама - mum)

отец - father (папа - dad)

дети - children (ребенок - a child)

дочь - daughter

сын - son

сестра - sister

брат - brother

бабушка - grandmother

дедушка - grandfather

внуки -grandchildren

внук - grandson

внучка - granddaughter

прабабушка - grand grandmother

прадедушка - great grandfather

правнуки - great grandchildren

дядя - uncle

тётя - aunt

двоюродный [сродный] брат (male), двоюродная [сродная] сестра (female) - cousin

племянник - nephew

племянница - niece

супруг [муж] - husband

супруга [жена] - wife

тесть - the father of your wife

тёща - the mother of your wife

свёкор - the father of your husband

свекровь - the mother of your husband

отчим - stepfather

мачеха - stepmother

падчерица - stepdaughter

пасынок - stepson

сводный брат - stepbrother

сводная сестра - stepsister

Phrases to describe a family in Russian

In Russian there is no word for siblings. We usually say братья и/или сестры (brothers and/or sister) instead. But there can be some variations:

Do you have siblings? - У тебя есть брат или сестра (братья или сестры)?

У меня (только) одна сестра. - I (just) have one sister.

У меня две [три] сестры. - I have two [three] sisters.

У меня только один брат. - I just have one brother.

У меня два [три брата]. - I have two (three) brothers.

У меня нет братьев и сестер. - I have no brothers and sisters.

Я единственный ребенок в семье. - I'm the only child in the family.

By the way, if you can't read in Russian or have some doubts about the pronunciation of these words, there's a video for you:

Now let's see how we talk about our children. Again, we use the same structure "у меня". Be careful, we don't use "я имею" (literally "I have").

У меня есть дети. - I have children.

У меня один ребенок. - I have one child.

У меня двое (трое, четверо) детей. - I have two (three, four) children.

У меня есть сын. - I have a son.

У меня двое сыновей. - I have two sons.

У меня есть дочь. - I have a daughter.

У меня двое дочерей. - I have two daughters.

У меня есть сын и дочь. - I have a son and a daughter.

У меня нет детей. - I have no children.

Here are some general phrases to describe your family.

У нас большая семья. - We have a big family.

У нас небольшая (маленькая) семья. - we have a small family.

В моей семье четыре человека: моя жена, (мой) сын, (моя) дочь и я. - There are four people in my family: my wife, my son, my daughter and myself.

We rarely use "my" in Russian like it is used in English. When we talk about something which is obviously ours, we don't emphasize the possession. As it was shown in the previous example, we can avoid using possessive pronouns. Instead of saying мой сын, моя дочь I can just mention "my" only once and then it gets pretty obvious that I'm talking about my son and my daughter, so I can elliminate words мой and моя.

Another example:

Я разговариваю с сыном. - I'm talking to my son.

As you can see, I didn't write с моим сыном or со своим сыном. This means we can avoid using posessive pronouns when it's easy to understand that something belongs to us. It's not only when talking about a family. It's about any possession.