Talking About Family in Chinese Posted by sasha on Sep 25, 2017 in Vocabulary
The Chinese family tree can be quite complicated, as we learned in our last post. Go back and check that one out if you need to brush up on your Chinese family vocabulary. Now that you’ve got all the Chinese words you’ll need for familial relationships, it’s time to go a step further. In this post we’ll practice talking about family in Chinese.
How Many People?
First up, let’s learn how to ask and answer about the amount of people in your family. In Chinese, there are two ways to ask “How many people are in your family?”:
nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ gè rén
nǐ jiā yǒu jǐ kǒu rén
As you can see, the only thing that’s different between those two questions is the measure word. Many textbooks will teach you to use 口 as the measure word for people, but it’s perfectly fine to use the catch-all measure word 个. In fact, I’ve had Chinese teachers tell me it’s more common to use 个. So, how many people are in your family? Here’s my answer:
wǒ jiā yǒu jiǔ gè rén
There are 9 people in my family.
Try to use the words we learned in the last post to introduce them. Here’s the list of people in my family:
bà ba, mā ma, sì gè dì di, liǎng gè mèi mei, hé wǒ
dad, mom, 4 younger brothers, 2 younger sisters, and me
Now let’s move on to some more Q&A about family members so you can get even more practice.
Family Members Q&A
Here are some common questions that you might encounter when talking about family in Chinese, as well as examples of how to answer them:
nǐ jié hūn le ma
Are you married?
shì de, wǒ yǐ jīng jié hūn le
Yes, I’m already married.
méi yǒu, wǒ hái méi jié hūn
No, I’m not married yet.
nǐ yǒu hái zi ma
Do you have children?
yǒu de, wǒ yǒu yī gè er zi
Yes, I have a son.
wǒ méi yǒu hái zi
No, I don’t have children.
nǐ de fù mǔ zhù zài nǎ lǐ
Where do your parents live?
tā men zhù zài wǒ de lǎo jiā
They live in my hometown.
nǐ de bà ba zuò shén me gōng zuò
What does your dad do?
wǒ bà ba shì yī shēng
My dad is a doctor.
nǐ de dì di jǐ suì le
How old is your little brother?
tā shí qī suì
nǐ de mèi mei jiào shén me míng zì
What’s your little sister’s name?
tā jiào kǎi dì
Her name is Katie.
You can easily change any of the above questions by using a different family member. Keep the sentence structure the same but just use different vocabulary. Go ahead and practice! See if you can come up with five or so questions, and then just answer them yourself. Better yet – find someone you can chat with. It’s great to practice reading and writing, but there’s nothing better than actually talking with someone! If you want some more reading practice, try to get through this post I wrote in Chinese about my family a while back.
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