2018-06-08 07:08:05 UTC
Is uncle really limited to siblings of parents or their husbands?
So I just saw the question: How can you recognize "uncle" is father's
brother or mother's brother? (Is there any "default option"? ), and
I looked at the Wikipedia article for uncle and the definition at Google,
and it seems that the word is limited to siblings of parents or their
husbands. In Spanish, the translation, "tío," also covers cousins and
uncles of parents, so it's a recursive relationship that stretches
infinitely far up the ancestry chain. That means that when you have a
family reunion based on a common ancestor, everyone has a personal
relationship with everyone.
Is that not the case in English? What do you call the husband of the
daughter of the sister of your grandmother, or the son of the brother
of your great-grandfather?
I say: Serbs used to have a joint family household called a zadruga; I
suspect that this must have affected their terms for relatives, like in
India's languages, including Indian English. Serbs now live in nuclear
families, so these terms might be obsolete.
In Indian English, an uncle is your parent's "own brother" (sibling)
or "cousin brother" (usually 1st cousin). Your parents' son is your "own
brother" and your grandparents' grandson is your "cousin brother". The
generic term brother (unqualified by a prefix) could mean your sibling or
your first cousin, especially in a joint family household where you're
raised with your siblings and first cousins in the same house. See this
question; it too raises the question of how you tell which parent's
relative an uncle is and the issue of a brother of the cousin kind: