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Science, Math, & Technology


The Study of Kinship

Posted Over 1 Year ago by chiarizio

This thread is supposed to be about any scientific or technical or mathematical or real-world historical (or probably true-legendary) or realistically speculative not-conclusively-disproven things anyone wants to say about kinship.


What is Kinship?

Culture-Specific Simplifications and Complications

Biological Parents versus Sociological Parents

Affine Kin

Consanguineal Kin
If the reason two people are kin, is that one of them is a direct lineal descendant of the other, or a direct lineal ancestor of the other, or a direct lineal descendant of a direct lineal ancestor of the other; then they are said to be blood kin or consanguineal kin or kin by shared descent or kin by shared ancestry.

Direct Lineal Ancestors and Direct Lineal Descendants

Collineal Ancestors and Collineal Descendants

Collateral Kin
All other consanguineal kin are collateral kin.
A direct lineal descendant two or more generations removed from a direct lineal ancestor two or more generations removed from EGO, is one of EGO’s collateral kin.
The closest ones would be EGO’s grandparents’ grandchildren. (Aka first cousins.)
Note that they’d be the children of EGO’s collineal ancestor (uncle or aunt), as well as the collineal descendants (nephew or niece) of EGO’s parent.

Fictive Kin

There are 2 Replies

Terms of Reference vs Terms of Address
A kinship term of reference is a noun that denotes a “third person” (not the speaker and not an addressee) who is related to some proband or propositus (or proposita if we don’t think “propositus” is gender-neutral).
In discussing kinterms generically it’s usual to refer to the target of the kinterm as ALTER.

They are used as if, (or similarly to, or in place of), pronouns.

In kinterms-of-reference, the proband or propositus, from whom kinship is reckoned, may be
  • the first person (the speaker), or
  • a second person (an addressee), or
  • a salient third person.
    By default the proband is called EGO, and assumed to be the speaker.
    However, depending on the language, a kinterm-of-reference may vary depending on the grammatical person of the proband.

    ”Triangular” Kinterms
    In some languages there are some kinterms-of-reference that express ALTER’s relationship from the POV of two probands simultaneously; for instance, both the speaker and an addressee.
    For instance if my sister-in-law Carol were speaking to my sister Susan about my daughter Shelly she might use the phrase “our mutual niece”.
    For some languages there’s a one-word term, shorter than five syllables, that means “our mutual niece”; and several other “portmanteau” kinterms-of-reference can simultaneously express an ALTER’s relationship to two different probands.

    As far as I know the two probands don’t have to be the speaker and an addressee; they can be the speaker and some salient 3rd-person, or an addressee and some salient 3rd-person. I can think of several situations where those would come in handy.

    On the other hand I haven’t yet been able to think of many very good uses for a triangular kinterm in which both probands are third persons.
    And there might be problems creating triangular kinterms for two second-person probands.

    Kinterms-of-Address are monoptotically vocative, if the language has such a case; their proband EGO is always first-person (the speaker) and their target ALTER is always second-person (an addressee).
    They are used similarly to, or in place of, proper nouns.
    Speakers use them to address a relative.

    ….. ….. ….. ….. …..

    Kinterms of reference may be very different from kinterms of address.
    Scholarly authors writing about kinterms almost always start with kinterms-of-reference where the proband is first-person.
    Often they stop there, and don’t mention variant kinterms-of-reference with a non-first-person proband, nor kinterms-of-address.

    But clearly sometimes they do, or how would I know about them?

  • Over 1 Year ago

    Mixed Descent
    “Gillin (1948:433) notes that mixed descent is relatively rare but two varieties do occur. Sex-linked mixed descent affiliates males with their father’s male line; females with the mother’s female line. Cross-sex mixed descent affiliates males with the mother’s father, females with the father’s mother.” ES:75.

    I have read, and have posted, that affiliating males with their father’s line but females with their mother’s lines, is unstable; though I’ve never seen a proof of that, nor an explanation of why it might be so.
    I have read that where/when it happens, it’s usually a mostly fictive kinship or putative kinship.

    However, affiliating men with their mother’s father’s line, and women with their father’s mother’s line, is essentially the same as putting men in their mother’s line and women in their father’s line. In other words, the Mundugumor rope or alterclan or Adpihi spirit-robe or Mundugumor geun.

    So apparently Gillin has seen this somewhere IRL.

    11 Months ago

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