Several years ago, I was told by a Persian friend that they find the English language lacking when it comes to the words we use for family members. For example, we use the word “uncle” to mean mother’s brother, father’s brother, or husband of either father’s sister or mother’s sister. Some languages, Persian being one of them, have different words for each of these “uncles”. I wanted to know more. Has English always been deficient in this regard? Which languages are rich in kinship terms? I did a little digging, and here is what I found.
Persian does indeed have a wider vocabulary of family relationship words.… Continue reading