Talking about your family in Russian

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

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

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.

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" all the time in Russian. 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's 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 wrote "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.