Monday, 13 January 2014

consanguinity and so do my sisters and my cousins and my aunts

Mental Floss has gathered an interesting though archaic collection of specific terms for family members. Though not in common-parlance, I really appreciate the fact that ones father's sister is properly known as ones fadu and relations should be honoured with more than generic titles, I think.
Most of the catch-all English words—which do certainly enjoy a greater degree of specificity in other languages and cultures, are derived from French and German words. Some of the peculiarities are interesting to note, as well—like the Germanic Eltern for the English parents (from the Latin parens) is always dual and can never signal a single parent, except when constructed as alleinstehende Mutter, or sister-germane, from the Latin germanus for real and sincere and having nothing to be with the exonym for the country.