Words for relatives
Swedish learner nunes89 asked for a table with all the relative terms in this discussion.
I made a short list as comment but thought I’d compile a ”släktträd” (family tree) which is available as a .pdf here.
Edit (2016-06-02): The original file has disappeared, so I have replaced it with smaller one, so you might have to zoom a bit.
Blue is male relatives, pink is female relatives and green are gender-neutral. The white ones are don’t have specific words, but are included to complete the tree.
Observe that the words for relatives are very flexible and in a dictionary you’ll also find e.g. ”morfarsfar” (father of your maternal grandfather) and ”sonsonson” (son of your son’s son) etc., but it’s hard to squeeze all the words in.
Most of the words are included in this table I made.
I apologise for the heteronormative gender-stereotypical tree, but it’s just to make it clear and illustrative.
Maybe we should say something about modern-day relatives. If your partner has children from a previous relationship, you can say that these kids are your bonusbarn. There are also words like plastpappa/plastmamma for your parents' new partners. If your parents have split up and now live with new people, the children of these people can be your plastsyskon (plastsyster, plastbror, or with the colloquial forms syrra/brorsa instead, plastsyrra, plastbrorsa), or you can use the forms with bonus- (bonussyskon etc).
The prefix plast of course means plastic and refers to this as a modern phenomenon + that it is not "organic".
The traditional word for this kind of relation is styv- (like the English step-): styvmor, styvfar, styvföräldrar, styvbarn, styvdotter, styvson, styvsyskon, styvsyster, styvbror etc. However, maybe because of all the evil stepmothers in the fairytales, or maybe because there's an implication of permanency in these words that does not suit the situation today, these words aren't very popular any longer. But, some people may feel that plast doesn't sound serious enough, so bonus- is probably the safest bet. (In Sweden, that is, I believe that the combinations with styv- are the preferred ones in Finland.)
Guys, please, help) In English, for example, we have a word "grandma" for Swedish "mormor" and "farmor". Imagine the situation, when someone asks: "Är det hennes mormor?" In English it would be just: "Is it her grandma?" And the answer would be, e.g., "Yes". But what would it be in Swedish? I hope that I am not mistaken if I think that it's not obligatory to know is this particular Swedish grandma father's mother or mother's mother)) What should I answer if I don't know such details? Or should I say smth like: "Mormor eller farmor"?)
It depends on the situation. It's not really as complicated as it sounds. If it's not your "mormor" but instead your "farmor" you simply say that. If you're the person asking the question you simply choose one to ask and expect the other person to tell you if it's the wrong one.
You don't have to make it complicated! Edge cases like yours rarely happen and are easily solved by saying a few extra words.
For me it depends. If they were already married when I was a kid and she's still around, I tend to speak about her as my moster (though if I speak more about her, I'll probably mention that she's my uncle's wife). But if my uncle gets married later on, she'll only ever be min morbrors fru.
That's interesting! In England, whenever my uncle gets married, his wife will always be my aunt. I would explain the relationship by clarifying that my uncle is my mother's brother.
Learning these nuances of thought are the bonuses of learning new languages. Thank you for sharing these insights. Tack så mycket!
I think they are just alternative terms, but it seems as if they're mostly used in Northern Sweden according to Wikipedia. They also list "tvåmänning" which is also in SAOB. I've definitely heard/seen tremänning/fyrmänning, probably mostly in writing or from older people. I say "syssling" myself, but many people around me here in southern Sweden and my mother use "nästkusin".
Tack så mycket! Amazing work!
Quick question: the declensions column... The first term is used for the definitive form (familjen - the family) while the second one is used for indef plural (familjer - families and, if I am not wrong, familjerna - the families).
My question: why do the declensions with "barn are -0 and -en? I thought the definitive singular was -et (barmet - the child) and the plurals barn -children, barnen- the children. Am I wrong? Thank you :)
den/ det/ de gamla (adjective) also
gamla to make a difference between some concepts with the same name (quite like in English): gamla stilen vs nya stilen = the Julian calendar vs the Gregorian, Gamla världen - Nya världen = Old World - New World, Gamla testamentet - Nya testamentet = Old Testament - New Testament
Usually the word for spouse is make for a man and maka for a woman. We use the gender-neutral word partner (-n, -0/-s) for partner in general, but I can’t think of a gender-neutral word for spouse. There is also sambo if you live together in a relationship without being married.
I’m afraid we don’t have a neat gender-neutral word like sibling-in-law. One could imagine svärsyskon but it’s not used.