Viet Family 102


Continuing where we left off last time with our families 🙂 after this, you should be able to understand everything in the chart above. You can download the Family Tree chart here.


Anh Chị You Em
Your older brother Your older sister You Your younger brothers and sisters


Whether you call someone anh họ or chị họ doesn’t depend on whether they’re older than you or not. It depends on whose children they are – if a cousin is the son of your dad’s or mom’s older siblings, you call him “anh họ,” even if he’s younger than you; if a cousin is the son of your dad’s or mom’s younger siblings, you call him “em họ,” even if he’s older than you.

Male Female
Children of your parents’ older siblings Anh (họ) Chị (họ)
Children of your parents’ younger siblings Em (họ) Em (họ)
Your siblings can be denoted with the word ruộtanh ruột, chị ruột, em ruột, to differentiate from your cousins (anh họ, chị họ, em họ).
The word anh chị em means siblings or siblings & cousins. Anh em means all the brothers of a family, chị em means all the sisters. Example: Anh em nhà Karamazov – the Karamazov brothers. Chị em nhà Thảo – the sisters of Thảo’s family. Anh chị em nhà Lân – all the siblings of Lân’s family.

Your extended family

Son Con (trai) Daughter Con (gái)
Grandson Cháu (trai) Granddaughter Cháu (gái)
Nephew Cháu (trai) Niece Cháu (gái)

Your grandchildren:

Grandchildren from your son Cháu (nội)
Grandchildren from your daughter Cháu (ngoại)


  • Though it is grammatically correct, no one combines both ways of calling grandchildren and says “cháu trai ngoại” or “cháu gái nội.”
  • The phrase “cháu đích tôn” means the firstborn grandson of the firstborn son. Family lineage is passed through the paternal line in Vietnam. By tradition, cháu đích tôn will have the important duty of maintaining the ancestor’s altar and organizing dịp lễ Tết (Lunar New Year and other anniversaries) when he grows up and replaces his dad

Note about Abbreviation:

Very often, you will hear the shortened form of the words

Anh họ, chị họ, em họ are shortened to anh, chị, em.

con gái, con trai are shortened to con

cháu gái, cháu trai, cháu nội, cháu ngoại are shortened to cháu


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