Saturday, July 09, 2005

Family relations

Having just returned from a week in France with my extended family, I was reminded of how special the "cousin" relationship is. I have always thought that cousins are the best. They're like siblings, but without the competition. They understand you, they know the quirks of the family, and they are the best cómplices you will find anywhere!

I particularly love how the "first cousin" relationship is described in Spanish -- mi primo hermano, "my cousin-brother or brother-cousin." Somehow the words "first cousin" just don't describe how close the family relationship really is. But when you say primo hermano, the bond is clear.

It's the same with tía abuela for "great aunt." A "great aunt" sounds so far removed; it's not even clear from the words themselves what kind of relationship they actually describe. But your tía abuela, your "aunt-grandmother?" You can feel the direct bloodline and the love just in those words.

Are there any other examples of this that I'm missing? Native speakers, please fill me in ....

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