In English and in the US we refer to grandparents as grandmother and grandfather. It doesn't matter if they are the parents of the mother or the parents of the father. In Chinese there are different words for the maternal grandmother and the maternal grandfather as well as the paternal grandmother and the paternal grandfather. Moreover, there are different words for older sister and younger sister, as well as older brother and younger brother. It gets really interesting when you get into aunts and uncles! Here is a list of some of the different delineations in Chinese:

Brother: Older brother, Younger brother
Sister: Older sister, Younger sister
Grandfather: Mother's father, Father's father
Grandmother: Mother's mother, Father's mother
Aunt: Father's sister, Father's older brother's wife, Father's younger brother's wife, Mother's sister, Mother's brother's wife
Uncle: Father's older brother, Father's younger brother, Father's sister's husband, Mother's brother, Mother's sister's husband

The list could go on. In one dictionary, there are 14 entries for the word cousin with variations depending on age compared to speaker, and whether it is a cousin in the mother's side or the father's side.


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