They pick you up when you’re down.
They celebrate your successes.
They pretend to not notice when you trip over your tongue (or they laugh so hard that they cry).
Family is likely one of the most important things in your life, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to talk about your loved ones from time to time.
And if you’ve decided to study Russian, you might’ve already picked up a few family-related words to lace into conversations. But you might only know the tip of the iceberg!
Learning more Russian family words can infuse your vocabulary with useful vocabulary that you can use in everyday life. These 31 must-know Russian family words can help you converse about your clan!
Tips to Master Russian Family Words
Use them with your family.
What better way to practice your family words than interacting with your family? If your family knows a little Russian, that’s great! However, they don’t need to know any Russian for you to practice your new vocabulary with them.
You could just start using the words in Russian as nicknames for your family members! Using them regularly will help reinforce them and soon they’ll feel like second nature.
Practice them in context.
Practicing words in context is one of the best ways to learn (and remember) them. Since family-related words are quite common, you can find them all over authentic Russian content. You can even listen for them in your favorite Russian TV shows and movies, like “The Road to Calvary” and “Locust” on Netflix.
If you want to practice with authentic content but it still seems a little daunting, FluentU can act as a bridge toward better Russian skills.
Each video contains interactive subtitles, which allow you to click on words you don’t know to instantly see definitions, images and example sentences. So you can still enjoy native-level Russian content even as a beginner!
In fact, FluentU’s Russian library contains hundreds of videos for every level, from beginners to advanced learners.
FluentU is also built to work with your schedule and preferences. You choose what you watch, when you watch it and how much you watch.
Whether you use FluentU on your computer, download the iOS app or use the Android app, you’ll have access to lots of great Russian learning content.
And while you learn, FluentU’s algorithm will track how you’re doing to present you with level-appropriate content that builds on what you already know.
Make your own flashcards.
Flashcards can be one of the quickest and easiest ways to learn more vocabulary, and family words are especially easy to learn with flashcards. You can make flashcards online, with a flashcard app or out of index cards!
And perhaps best of all, you can use real pictures of your family so that you see their smiling faces as you learn family-related words. Then you can associate the Russian words more directly with their meanings rather than translating in your head.
AnkiApp is a helpful tool you might use to make family vocabulary flashcards. You can include text, sound and images, making it easier to put together flashcards that meet your needs and preferences. A special algorithm tracks how well you know each flashcard to prioritize words you need to study more.
Quizlet is another convenient option. This website lets users put together flashcard sets with words and pictures. But you don’t have to use your sets just as flashcards. You can also use the material for different activities, including games. Plus, you can access flashcard sets by other users, and there are dozens of options that focus on Russian family vocabulary.
Need another option? Cram also lets users create their own flashcards with text and images. Not only that, but you can also use countless flashcard sets focussed on Russian vocabulary that other users have put together.
When it comes to flashcard apps, sharing is definitely caring!
31 Must-know Words to Talk About Your Family in Russian
У меня хорошие отношения с моей семьёй. (I have a good relationship with my family.)
Мои родители научили меня читать. (My parents taught me to read.)
Мать is the most formal word for mother.
Моя мать – врач. (My mother is a doctor.)
Most people, regardless of their age, use мама when addressing their mother or speaking informally.
Мама, можно мне конфетку на ужин? (Mom, can I have candy for dinner?)
Much like “mommy” in English, мамочка is commonly used when being particularly sweet to one’s mother. This is true for all age groups.
Я люблю тебя, мамочка! (I love you, mommy!)
Отец is generally used as “father” in a more formal setting.
Мой отец – юрист. (My father is a lawyer.)
Children and adults usually use папа when speaking to their father or speaking casually about him.
Папа, а можно мне хомячка? (Dad, can I have a hamster?)
Папочка is generally used when trying to sound sweet and can be used by any age group.
Пожалуйста, папочка, можно мне немного шоколада? (Please, daddy, can I have some chocolate?)
Моя сестра помогает убираться. (My sister helps clean.)
Мой брат не любит пиццу. (My brother doesn’t like pizza.)
Их дети хорошо разбираются в математике. (Their children are good at math.)
Наша дочь любит музыку. (Our daughter loves music.)
Наш сын готовит ужин. (Our son cooks dinner.)
Моя бабушка много ругается. (My grandmother swears a lot.)
Мой дедушка любит рыбачить. (My grandfather likes to fish.)
Она крепко обняла внучку. (She hugged her granddaughter tightly.)
Его внук назван в его честь. (His grandson is named after him.)
А чем занимается Ваша жена? (What does your wife do?)
Где Вы познакомились с Вашим мужем? (Where did you meet your husband?)
Моя тётя живёт в России. (My aunt lives in Russia.)
Его дядя выиграл в лотерею. (His uncle won the lottery.)
Моя племянница хочет пойти в сауну. (My niece wants to go to the sauna.)
Ваш племянник любит балет? (Does your nephew like ballet?)
Meaning: Cousin (female)
А где живёт ваша двоюродная сестра? (Where does your cousin live?)
Meaning: Cousin (male)
Мой двоюродный брат выступает в цирке. (My cousin performs at the circus.)
Золовка, Свояченица, Невестка
In Russian, there are several different words for sister-in-law depending on how she is related.
Золовка is the husband’s sister, свояченица is the wife’s sister and невестка is the brother’s wife.
Завтра приезжает моя невестка. (My sister-in-law arrives tomorrow.)
Шурин, Зять, Деверь, Свояк
There are several Russian words for brother-in-law as well.
Шурин is the wife’s brother, зять is the sister’s husband, деверь is the husband’s brother and свояк is the wife’s sister’s husband.
Мой шурин работает в городе. (My brother-in-law works in the city.)
Тёща is the wife’s mother, while свекровь is the husband’s mother.
А Ваша свекровь хорошая? (Is your mother-in-law nice?)
Тесть is the wife’s father, and свёкор is the husband’s father.
Твоему свёкру нравится подарок? (Does your father-in-law like the gift?)
Ваша невестка такая умная! (Your daughter-in-law is so smart!)
У моего зятя хорошая работа. (My son-in-law has a good job.)
By now, you’re hopefully feeling confident in your ability to address, describe and chat about some of the most influential people in your life.
Family is important all over the world, and the topic of yours is bound to come up in future Russian conversations.
And by drilling these 31 Russian words into your growing vocabulary, talking about your loved ones will become instantly easier!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.