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Spanish Family

La familia española

Spanish Family

Over the course of Spanish history, families in Spain have been portrayed as numerous and always living together or in close vicinity of one another. This may make sense when you do not need to commute for an hour a day to work, or you would head home for a hearty lunch and siesta to avoid the early afternoon sun, it is something which the Catholic Church instilled and has done its utmost to maintain.

Although women started to enter the workforce as women's rights were pushed at the start of the 20th century, the Franco regime continued to hold women back, promoting the mother as the housewife and carer of the children, of which there should be an abundant number. It was not uncommon for a woman to have between 10 and 20 babies in her childbearing lifetime, although the number of those babies that survived to childhood and beyond was not so high.

The modern Spanish family often sees both parents working and the grandparents assisting in the bringing up of the young children before they are old enough to go to school. Nurseries have sprung up across Spain since the end of the last century so families who do not have relatives living close by to assist with childcare are able to work to support the small family, whilst the child is cared for along with others of a similar age.

If you want the opportunity to use all your new vocabulary or stay with a Spanish family, why not consider a a Spanish host family? It'll give you a great insight to the life of a Spanish family and help you to improve your Spanish skills further.

English WordSpanish WordPronunciation
fatherel padreel padray
dadpapá / papipah-pah / puppy
motherla madrela madray
mom / mummamámah-mah
grandfatherel abueloel ab-welloh
grandmotherla abuelala ab-wellah
wifela esposa/ la mujerla es-powsah / lah mooh-her
husbandel maridoel mar-ee-doh
my partner (used for both male or female)mi parejamee pa-reh-ha
boyfriendel novioel nov-ee-oh
girlfriendla noviala nov-ee-ah
sonel hijoel eeh-oh
daughterla hijala eeh-ah
uncleel tíoel tee-oh
auntla tíala tee-ah
nephewel sobrinoel sob-reeno
niecela sobrinala sob-reenah
great-grandfatherel bisabueloel biss-ab-well-oh
great-grandmotherla bisabuelala biss-ab-well-ah
stepfatherel padrastroel pad-rass-trowe
stepmotherla madrastrala ma-drass-trah
brotherel hermanoel err-manow
sisterla hermanala err-manah
my brothers and sistersmis hermanosmiz err-manoss
non-identical twinslos mellizos / las mellizaslos mey-ithos / las mey-ithas
identical twinslos gemelos / las gemelaslos hem-ellos / las hem-ellas
tripletslos trillizos / las trillizaslos tree-ethos / las tree-ethas
grandsonel nietoel nee-etto
granddaughterla nietala nee-etta
father-in-lawel suegroel swegro
mother-in-lawla suegrala swegra
son-in-lawel yernoel eeyurno
daughter-in-lawla nuerala nooh-eh-rah

There may be much debate as to whether the modern Spanish family, which comprises single mothers, single fathers, same sex relationships and combined step families, works but in the modern society which has been slow to take hold, there is little other option in 21st century Spain.

With both the modern and the traditional Spanish family in mind, there is a lot of Spanish vocabulary relating to the family. Many, but not all names have a masculine and a feminine version, with the masculine name ending with o and the feminine name ending with a. A mixed sex group is given a male ending name: los hermanos is the same as if the group were all males. An all female group is given a female ending, las sobrinas.