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In-laws...

 
 
Seizan
 
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 09:50 pm
My wife's brother is my brother-in-law. Her sister is my sister-in-law.

What would I call my sister-in-law's husband? Should I refer to him as my brother-in-law, or should I use "My sister-in-law's husband"?
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 10:17 pm
@Seizan,
I would use brother-in-law when referring to him. When speaking to him, I would use his first name, but I'm not sure of the convention in Japan.
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 10:34 pm
@roger,
Thanks.

OK for me to call him by his given name, that's not a problem. However, I do call him "Junji Sensei" or use his last name "Simie Sensei" if we're in public (he's a college professor, and a year senior to me). I was just wondering if introducing him or writing about him, what term to use.
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 10:37 pm
@Seizan,
Seizan wrote:
Should I refer to him as my brother-in-law


Just a guess, but probably not. It may be common practice to refer to someone separated from you by two marriages as your brother-in-law for all I know. But if two degrees of separation is okay, what about three? What about 10? Could my third cousin in Missouri also be your "brother in-law"?

There's another way in which your relationship to your sister-in-law differs qualitatively from your relationship to her husband. If you and your wife have a child, you will share a common blood relative (namely, that child) with your sister-in-law, the child's aunt. But you still won't be linked by a blood relative to the sister-in-law's husband. The child would call that guy his uncle, but they would not be blood relatives.

There is also the whole "n times removed" thing, but I don't know how exactly that is supposed to work.
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 10:40 pm
@Seizan,
Seizan wrote:

I was just wondering if introducing him or writing about him, what term to use.


Do the Japanese have more precise terms for describing family relationships?
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 10:59 pm
According to the reference.com people, you call him your wife's brother in law.

Note, if you go to the link, The Oxford English Dictionary defines,"proband" as
Quote:
A person serving as the starting point for the genetic study of a family.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jan, 2017 11:42 pm
Thanks everyone.

I guess it's safe to stick with either "My wife's brother-in-law" and/or "my sister-in-law's husband". My wife verifies the same terms in Japanese. She said it's also proper to refer to him simply as my "brother-in-law" since he is married to my wife's sibling.

Which of the terms to use can be decided by the degree of respect we show each other, or by the context of use (public event, speech, party, family gathering, luncheon, etc.). At a male-dominated event or gathering (in Japan) it is not always advantageous (culturally, socially, politically) to refer to one's wife when introducing one's in-law, so I would place myself in a weak position by referring to my wife or my sister-in-law in regards to my brother-in-law.

N times removed as in cousins, etc. --maybe "my distant in-law" (no hyphen between distant and in-law) or "my distant cousin-in-law"?

My niece's husband would be just that. Though he might legally qualify as an "in-law" (related by marriage), I can't think of any "in-law" title as such, unless there is such a thing as a "nephew-in-law"...

Anyway, the sister-in-law's husband question seems to be resolved, unless someone has another idea...
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  4  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 06:33 am
A small correction:

"At a male-dominated event or gathering (in Japan) it is not always advantageous (culturally, socially, politically) to refer to one's wife when introducing one's in-law, so I would place myself in a weak position by referring to my wife or my sister-in-law in regards to my brother-in-law."

Actually, I am informed that it is in poor taste to mention any family connection at all in a speech at a public event (in Japan). Family connections should only be mentioned in personal conversations.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 08:43 am
@Kolyo,
Removal has to do with cousin generations so it doesn't apply. For example:
  • My brother (H) and I have the same parents (of course).
  • Our mother's sister's son (E) is our first cousin.
  • My brother's son (A) and our mother's sister's son (E) are first cousins once removed. This is because they are in differing generational relationships to the relative they have in common, who is my mother. My nephew (my brother's son, A) is grandson to my mother, whereas our mother's sister's son, E, is nephew to my mother.
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 08:54 am
@Seizan,
Quote seizan:
Quote:
Actually, I am informed that it is in poor taste to mention any family connection at all in a speech at a public event (in Japan). Family connections should only be mentioned in personal conversations.

I figured there would be a cultural difference between the West and Japan. I saw a TV special once where they showed a Japanese man who was hired by Western firms to tutor their people about to be transferred to Japan how to act and speak socially, so as not to put off the Japanese clients they will be dealing with.
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 03:44 pm
@Seizan,
A brother-in-law is the brother of one's spouse, the husband of one's sibling, the husband of one's spouse's sibling, or the brother of one's sibling's spouse.
Seizan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 05:42 pm
@centrox,
Wow, thanks -- that nails it nicely...

What was the source?
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 05:51 pm
@Seizan,
I'm a reprobate: 20 years after the split happened (in time, still friends), I still describe my ex husband's brother as my brother in law, and his daughter as my niece. She will never be not my niece, and I still care about the bro and my ex. Rules be damned.

I've no idea if his new wife thinks of bro as brother in law. Not my business, but she likely does. Why not both of us calling him that?
But hey, we're all from California, where rules aren't always abided by.
0 Replies
 
Blickers
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 07:56 pm
@Seizan,
From Wikipedia:
Quote:
A more distant type of relation is that of a co-sibling-in-law; that is, one's spouse's sibling's spouse or one's sibling's spouse's sibling.

Source

This definition, from wikipedia, contradicts centrox's definition. However, I have come across a reference in an English usage message board which claims that centrox's definition is Wikipedia's definition. A post on the same message boards says that the use of co-brother-in-law is limited to India, and someone agreed. Here are the message board posts:
Stack Exchange posts

Finally, if I may point out that you seek the definition because you are giving a public address, the smartest thing to do is to refer to your sister-in-law's husband Harry as "Harry, one of my in-laws" and leave it at that. Nice and nonspecific, but undoubtedly true, for Harry is one of your in-laws, let the listener decide which one if they want to press the issue.

Blickers
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 08:14 pm
PS: Just found reference for centrox's definition-The American Heritage Dictionary.
Quote:
@Colin Fine: broth·er-in-law (brr-n-lô) n. pl. broth·ers-in-law (brrz-) 1. The brother of one's spouse. 2. The husband of one's sister. 3. The husband of the sister of one's spouse. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Stack Exchange thread

So it looks like you're covered if you call him your brother-in-law.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 08:50 pm
"Relative by marriage" could also be used.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Jan, 2017 08:57 pm
@Blickers,
"Finally, if I may point out that you seek the definition because you are giving a public address, the smartest thing to do is to refer to your sister-in-law's husband Harry as "Harry, one of my in-laws" and leave it at that. Nice and nonspecific, but undoubtedly true, for Harry is one of your in-laws, let the listener decide which one if they want to press the issue."

Actually, I intend to include a person of rather high prestige in one of my newsletters which I prepare for my Japanese middle school students weekly. This person attended our End-of-Year family gathering and is in the family photo. He is the VP of Meio University, and quite well-known in Japan and South America (Brazil in particular).

I have determined to not introduce him as my brother-in-law, but simply state that the event was attended by Prof. Junji Sumie, VP of Meio University. If asked personally why he attended a simple family gathering, I can then mention that he is also family -- my brother-in-law.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2017 09:10 am
Actually, I intend to include a person of rather high prestige in one of my newsletters which I prepare for my Japanese middle school students weekly. This person attended our End-of-Year family gathering and is in the family photo. He is the VP of Meio University, and quite well-known in Japan and South America (Brazil in particular).

I have determined to not introduce him as my brother-in-law, but simply state that the event was attended by Prof. Junji Sumie, VP of Meio University. If asked personally why he attended a simple family gathering, I can then mention that he is also family -- my brother-in-law.


If you would have said THAT at the beginning, it would have saved a lot of time.
Blickers
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2017 09:29 am
@PUNKEY,
At the beginning of the thread, I don't think Seizan felt he could properly say that his wife's brother-in-law was also his brother-in-law. I think he wanted to, but didn't know if there was any justification for it. In the thread, he found out there was such justification, a definition in the respected American Heritage Dictionary. However, he found out by his own research that it's not a good idea to mention the relation in Japan, only in response to a question about it.
0 Replies
 
Seizan
 
  3  
Reply Tue 3 Jan, 2017 10:24 am
@PUNKEY,
I wanted to find out if it was proper (regardless of country) to refer to him as my brother-in-law. I discovered through this thread that it is a proper reference. This gave me options for use of the term "brother-in-law" in other social situations. I know now that it will be proper to refer to him as such if asked why he attended our private family gathering (as he actually does each year).

It might not have saved time if I had asked only for the strictly formal manner of introduction which would ultimately not refer to family at all, just his title and name.
0 Replies
 
 

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