Note on Family Nomenclature

According to the Relatives Chart, the standard English label for a first cousin’s child would be “first cousin, once removed.” Filipinos, however, use the term “pamangkin” — preferably translated to English as “nephew” or “niece” — to clarify the generational removal, distinguishing cousins (“pinsan”) from their children, as well as from more distant relatives further up the tree who would also qualify as removed cousins in the standard nomenclature.

Hence, whenever I use the words “nephew” or “niece,” it’s just as likely to refer to any of my many cousins’ children as to my brother’s boy. As a corollary, when I refer to an “uncle” or “aunt” (or the Tagalog “tito” or “tita”), I may mean a relative of greater than first degree who is above me or my parents on the family tree.