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Family: what's the difference between かぞく and かてい ?

Duolingo teaches you both. There is probably a difference in nuance but what is it?

(Also, I have always wondered about the "No, I don't have a family" sentence because doesn't everybody have one? They use かぞく for that - so does かぞく maybe go more in the direction of "spouse and kids" family, rather than "family of origin"?)

March 10, 2018



かぞく means family in the English sense of the word, i.e. parents and children regardless of if they live apart or in the same house. かてい is closer to 'household', so the people you live with. iirc, かてい can also mean the actual home instead of the people living in it.


Interesting. In the tatoeba corpus, they use かてい in a translation of that famous Tolstoy sentence about happy and unhappy families - sounds as if かぞく might have been the better choice? ("All happy households are alike." Hmmm.)


家庭 (かてい)is home in the spatial, emotional, and social sense. 家族 (かぞく)centers around the blood relation.


Ah, ok - now the Tolstoy makes more sense to me. Thank you!


How would you fit 世帯 ( せたい) into that? Not directly related to the lesson, just curiuos.


世帯 is a domestic unit (household) and does not have the same sense of 'home' or 'family'. Ex.: 'It is a 5-member household.' Members of a household in the 世帯 sense can be unrelated. There is more focus on the living accommodations rather than the family dynamic or blood relation.

最盛期には五十世帯一六〇人が住んだ。At its peak, there were 50 households with 160 people in residence.


"I don't have a family" means you are single, you are not married. So you don't have your own family. I hope it makes sense to you. (^_-)


Just to make sure: you mean it means this in Japanese, correct?


I've heard it used that way in English at times, but not often. It usually (but not always) comes in the form of the phrase "family of [one's] own". It feels somewhat archaic and old-school to my ears, but still happens. Here's a 2014 example:

"My parents got divorced when I was in fourth grade, and it made me pretty jaded about marrying someone ... When I think back on all of it, it actually makes me want to get married. Having a really awesome family of my own and doing everything I can to ensure that none of that ever happens to my children is one of my largest life goals."

Nothing there implies that the speaker lacks parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. In this case the desire for "a really awesome family of my own" implies marriage and children, in a fairly traditional way.

ALSO: None of this is to imply that I am endorsing a narrow definition of family, or what makes any family awesome, or if anybody needs this kind of family to feel happy. This is a language post and I'm pointing out how people use the term.


Yes. That's how "we (as Japanese)" say it in Japaneses.


Interesting, thank you - now that Duolingo sentence makes a lot more sense to me!

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