In China, many people like to enquire about others’ families. They might ask how many brothers or sisters you have, or where does your family come from? Or maybe they’ll ask if you have a wife or husband. Be sure to know how to respond!

In this Podcast you will learn:

1. How to describe your close family members

2. About some of the similarities and differences between describing family members in Chinese and English

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in the Podcast:



父亲:Father (formal)—usually used in written Chinese

母亲:Mother (formal)—usually used in written Chinese






老公:Less formal way to say Husband in Chinese

老婆:Less formal way to say Wife

先生:Husband (can be formal or informal)

太太:Wife (can be formal or informal)

哥哥:Older brother

弟弟:Younger brother

姐姐:Older sister

妹妹:Younger sister

Cultural note: owing to the “one child policy” in China which began in the 1980s~1990s, it’s common that people who were born during this period are the only child in the family. This policy has been relaxed as recently as September 2015, when China officially announced that families can legally have second child.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

round-italki-logo-3d-01Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!


Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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