The variation of languages is fascinating.
My brother sent me this link to a blog-post on The Economist website. The blog is named Johnson for Samuel Johnson of dictionary fame and focuses on language issues. This post deals with words for family relationships.
My Maiden Aunt's second cousin's sister-in-law (2 Sept 2010)
The writer compares the more general terms in English to the often more complex terminology in other languages and wonders what they tell us about their respective societies. For example, the English word cousin refers to any child of your parents' sibling. In other languages the terms may indicate whether the cousin is male or female, on your mother or father's side, and the child of your parent's brother or sister. In some languages the complexity of these relationship terms is mind-boggling.
The 53 comments that follow the post provide even more information and insight.