How to Describe Your Family in French Words

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Est-ce que vous parlez française? Non? No one will lie to you and tell you it's easy, but you can learn sets of vocabulary to make the process slightly more smooth. Describing family members is a great way to get a lot of vocabulary into one lesson, as there are many parts to a family and many members to name. When learning foreign language vocabulary, the key to making it stick is memorization and repetition. On va commencer!

  • Begin with the vocabulary words used to describe parents. Mom: la mère, dad: le père, parents: les parents. To indicate a parent by marriage, mother-in-law: belle-mère, father-in-law: beau-père. The same vocabulary is used to describe both step mothers and step fathers as to describe in-law. When introducing parents; hello, these are my parents: bonjour, je vous présente mes parents.

  • Introduce vocabulary to describe siblings. Brother: le frère, sister: la soeur. Brother in law: le beau-frère, sister in law: la belle-soeur. Similar to the parents-in-law and step parents, the same term is used to describe step-siblings as siblings by marriage. To describe the youngest in the family: le cadet / la cadette (though sometimes referred to as le Benjamin). To describe the eldest in the family: l'aîné. To introduce siblings; hello, this is my sister, she is eleven: bonjour, je te présente ma soeur, elle a onze ans.

  • Define spouses as husband: le mari, wife: la femme, or fiancé(e): le/la fiancé(e).

  • Address children as les enfants. To describe a daughter: la fille, a son: le fils, granddaughter: la grande-fille, grandson: le grand-fils. To describe children in the extended family, a niece: la nièce, a nephew: le neveu (les neveux for plural).

  • Add extended family members. Grandmother: la grande-mère, grandfather: le grand-père, aunt: la tante, uncle: l'oncle. It is important to remember when describing cousins that there are two different versions of the word, one for a girl cousin: la cousine, and one for a boy cousin: le cousin. In the French language every noun is assigned a gender; either masculine, feminine or neutral. It is important to remember the gender of the noun as all articles preceding it (the, a, my, your etc.) have to correspond with the gender of the noun.

  • Don't forget to describe your pets. The word for dog: le chien, cat: le chat, birds: les oieaux, fish: le poisson, turtle: la tortue. To term family animals in general: les animaux domestique.

  • Place your family vocabulary inside of a home, known as la maison. Inside la maison is a kitchen: la cuisine, bedroom: le chambre, living room: le salon, bathroom: la salle de bains. And maybe, outside in the back, there is un petit jardin for the petit chien to play in.

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