Gujarati Language Rediscovered
Gujarati names for family relations:
In English, your uncle is your uncle and your aunty is your aunty. In Spanish, the names for uncle is tio and aunty is tia. But not in Gujarati!
Gujarati families traditionally were extended families. My grandmother grew up in a large house with her seven sisters and a brother along with her parents, her dad’s two brothers, their wives, grandparents and eleven cousin brothers and sisters. Now if she called out to her “aunty” it would be confusing to them especially if her mom’s sister was visiting. It was also considered disrespectful if she used their first names. This was the case in many large families where more than 20-30 people lived under the same roof.
The Gujarati language has different names for different relationships not only to make things simpler but also to signify the unique bond of each relationship. There are songs and nursery rhymes to show these special bond. For example, “Mama(maternal uncle) nu ghar ketle, divo bade etle” ( How far is Mama’s house? oh almost there see where that light is that’s where).
Here some commonly used relationship names, if you want to learn them all join our e-Gujarati club at www.sanskarteaching.com.
Grandpa -Dad’s dad: Dada
Grandma – Dad’s mom: Ba
Grandpa – Mom’s Dad: Nana
Grandma – Mom’s mom: Nani
Sister – Ben
Brother – Bhai
Mom’s sister – Masi
Masi’s husband – Masa
Mom’s brother – Mama
Mama’s wife – Mami
Dad’s sister – Foi
Foi’s husband – Fua
Dad’s brother -Kaka ( Older brother – Bapa, Mota, Motapappa Younger brother – Nana)
Their wives respectively – Kaki, Motiba, Motimommy
There is a lot more remaining but this is a good place to begin.