Thailand for farang

Thai Family

family-2 My actual family. I’m the little orange calippo on the left.

Everybody seems related to each other

My friends always think I have a very big family as many Thai people are introducing themselves as my uncle or aunt in English. But that is not really accurate. Thai people use the term uncle or aunt if they are your parents' friends or your friends your parents age and some other case. You call parents of your friends mother and father. Technically you’re calling your friends brothers and sisters. And so on… Thai families are hard to unravel. Sometimes I’m even confused who is related to me and who’s not.

When my expat friends tell me “That’s his/her brother/sister/aunt/uncle.” I’m automatically responding with “Probably not.”. My dad used to tell me this story about meeting my moms parents. He got confused when she was introducing her 5th set of grandparents. Thai people translate how they call each other in Thai correctly, but that is not how we use the terms in English, so it always gets confusing.

Family tree

I’ve tried to make a Thai family tree as clear and complete as possible. Thai-family-tree

Partners and relationships

  • Spouse (Husband) formal = สามี (saamy)
  • Husband/Hubby informal = ผัว (poowa)
  • Spouse (Wife) formal = ภรรยา (phanraya)
  • Wife/Wify informal = เมีย (mia)
  • Ex husband = อดีตสามี (addyt saamy)
  • Ex Wife = อดีตภรรยา (addyt phanraya)
  • Boyfriend/girlfriend = แฟน (fan)
  • Ex boyfriend/girlfriend = อดีตแฟน (addyt fan) / แฟนเก่า (fan cow)

The in-laws

  • Father-in-law of man = พ่อตา (Phow-tah)
  • Mother-in-law of man = แม่ยาย (Mae-yai)
  • Father-in-law of woman = พ่อสามี (Phow-saamy)
  • Mother-in-law of man = แม่สามี (Mae-Saamy)
  • Son-in-law = ลูกเขย (Luke-khuey)
  • Daughter-in-law = ลูกสะใภ้ (Luke-sap-high)
  • Older step brother/sister = พี่เลี้ยง (P. liang)
  • Younger step broter/sister = น้องเลี้ยง (nong liang)

Four generations

  • Great-grandfather (father’s side) = ปู่ทวด (poo-thowhat)
  • Great-grandmother (father’s side) = ย่าทวด (yah-thowhat)
  • Great-grandfather (mother’s side) = ตาทวด (ta-thowhat)
  • Great-grandmother (mother’s side) = ยายทวด (yai-thowhat)
  • Grandchild = หลาน (larn)
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