Swedish/Lesson 4

Family Values


Immediate Family




Collectively, parents are known as "föräldrar".

Just like in English, the Swedish language has several words for mother and father, ranging from formal to casual. Starting with the words for mother, we have:

  • Moder (arch. mother)
  • Mor (mother)
  • Mamma (mom)
  • Morsa (mom, casual)

The most common words for father are:

  • Fader (arch. father)
  • Far (father)
  • Pappa (dad)
  • Farsa (dad, casual)
  • Farsgubben (old man)

Note that when addressing your folks with the casual terms, you use the definite forms farsan and morsan.



The words for syskon (siblings) are for brother:

  • Broder (arch. brother)
  • Bror (brother)
  • Brorsa (bro)

and for sister:

  • Syster (sister)
  • Syrra (sis)

The same goes here. You address them brorsan and syrran.

The word syskon itself is more commonly used (for people) in Swedish than the English word siblings. You would always translate "My brothers and sisters" with "Mina syskon", never with "Mina bröder och systrar", unless possibly if you want to make a special point about the differenses between them.



Children in general are referred to as "barn", in both singular and plural.

A male child is called

  • Son (son)
  • Pojke (boy)
  • Gosse (young boy)
  • Kille (casual form of boy; also guy for adults)

A female child is

  • Dotter (daughter)
  • Flicka (girl)
  • Tjej (casual form of girl; also girl/chick for adults)



Maternal Grandparents


Collectively, your maternal grandparents are "morföräldrar"

  • Mormor (maternal grandmother)
  • Morfar (maternal grandfather)

Paternal Grandparents


Collectively, your paternal grandparents are "farföräldrar".

  • Farmor (paternal grandmother)
  • Farfar (paternal grandfather)

Great Grandparents

  • Mormors mor (maternal grandmother's mother - mother's mother's mother)
  • Farfars far (paternal grandfather's father - father's father's father)
  • Farmors farfars mor (paternal grandmothers paternal grandfathers mother - father's mother's father's father's mother)

To build further, just add an s after every other generation



The formation of words for grandchildren follows the same pattern as for grandparents:

  • Dotterson (daughter's son)
  • Dotterdotter (daughter's daughter)
  • Sondotter (son's daughter)
  • Sonson (son's son)

To generically describe grandchildren, use:

  • Barnbarn (children's children)

(someone please add phonetics)

A Little More Extended Family

  • Faster † (father's sister, or aunt)
  • Moster † (mother's sister, or aunt)
  • Morbror (mother's brother, or uncle)
  • Farbror ‡ (father's brother, or uncle)
  • Kusin (cousin, child of a parent's brother or sister)

† Sometimes also called "tant", which is also used as a common name for elder ladies. It's also possible to refer to an uncle with the less common word "onkel".

‡ "Farbror" is also used as a common name for old men.