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Am I right in thinking that "eigene Familie" just includes your spouse and children but not your parents or in-laws because "eigene" here means that it is the family you started (or rather helped to start since not just you were involved)?

(Possibly it's also the same as in English with "your own family"?)

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    also see Kernfamilie and engster Familienkreis
    – Crissov
    Jan 22, 2022 at 15:57

2 Answers 2

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Yes-ish, but it depends.

It depends on the speaker and their life situation and also on the topic and circumstance of conversation. The wording is inherentily ambiguous the extent is derived from context. Often "meine Familie" is used synonymously with the people living in one household, but that's not a given. If you need clarity, you always have to ask for specification.

Also consider these two widely different circumstances:

If you are living with your parents or in-laws, with your spouse and children in the same house: why would they not be "your (own) family" (meine (eigene) Familie)?

Would "meine eigene Familie" become meaningless if you hear a single talking who lives on their own? I don't think so.

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As so often, it depends on context.

If someone says "Ich lebe mit meiner Familie in einer Dreizimmerwohnung" (I am living with my family in a three-room flat), it is very likely only about a couple and their children.

But if someone says "In meiner Familie gibt es viele Rechtsanwälte" (There are many lawyers in my family), it is probably about family in a much wider sense, including people s/he is only distantly related with.

That said, because you will encounter Kleinfamilien (small families, that is, parents and their childen) much more often than big families, the first meaning is much more likely when used without context.

I would understand meine eigene Familie simply to mean my own family, as opposed to some other family.

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