Adpihi Kinship systems (a work-in-progress)
Posted: Posted November 2nd, 2014 by chiarizio
Comments are welcome; including comments about other nat-cultures' or con-cultures' kinship systems.
I want to elaborate Adpihi's kinship system out to fourth-degree relatives.
It seems to me that in most natcultures there are words for all kin out to the second-degree, and for at least some third-degree kin; but having words for all fourth-degree kin would require having too large a fraction of the basic lexicon devoted to this one semantic field. Lexical suppletion and morphology can be trusted to create all the terms out to the third-degree, but some of the fourth-degree relations' terms have to be phrases, rather than words, created with the aid of syntax. (Again: so it seems to me. FAIK I could be wrong.)
There seem to be three different ways I could define "the" set of relatives I'm talking about.
In the first two,
a second-degree relative is a first-degree relative of a first-degree relative;
a third-degree relative is a first-degree relative of a second-degree relative, or, equivalently, is a second-degree relative of a first-degree relative;
and a fourth-degree relative is a second-degree relative of a second-degree relative, or, equivalently, a first-degree kin of a third-degree kin, or a third-degree kin of a first-degree kin.
1. Maybe the only first-degree kinships are mother, father, daughter, and son. Maybe for second-degree kinships it matters what the sex of the connecting relative is, as well as the sex of Alter. And maybe it matters what the relative ages of Ego and Alter are.
So if Alter is Ego's sibling, maybe one cares whether:
Alter is Ego's mother's daughter older than Ego (MDe),
or Alter is Ego's mother's daughter younger than Ego (MDy),
or Alter is Ego's father's daughter older than Ego (FDe),
or Alter is Ego's father's daughter younger than Ego (FDy),
or Alter is Ego's mother's son older than Ego (MSe),
or Alter is Ego's mother's son younger than Ego (MSy),
or Alter is Ego's father's son older than Ego (FSe),
or Alter is Ego's father's son younger than Ego (FSy).
Note that so far this doesn't provide a way to specify a full-sibling, other than stating that someone is both your mother's daughter/son and your father's daughter/son.
And maybe one defines "spouse" as "child's other parent" for purposes of the kinship system (so if a couple haven't yet produced offspring they're still "intended spouses" even if they've gone through a wedding ceremony, and if they have reproduced they're already "spouses" even if they haven't yet gone through any wedding rite-of-passage.)
Maybe there are different words for "husband" than for "wife", even though if one can tell what sex Ego is and knows Ego and Alter had a child together one can reliably guess that Alter (Ego's spouse, by definition) must be the opposite sex from Ego.
Maybe there are different words for "senior spouse" ("spouse older than Ego") and "junior spouse" ("spouse younger than Ego"). To modern USAnian sensibilities that may seem kind of gauche, but I can think of reasons it might matter to Adpihi and its successor cultures.
Maybe the sex of the shared child matters. One may have different words for co-parent-of-my-daughter and co-parent-of-my-son.
So maybe there are eight different words for "spouse", just as there might be eight different words for "sibling".
When one gets to third-degree relationships, more information may matter.
For instance, consider "genetic" or "biological" aunts and/or uncles; that is, Ego's parents' parents' children. If the sexes of the connecting relatives (Ego's parent (Alter's sibling) and Ego's grandparent (Alter's parent)) matter, and so does Alter's sex (but not Ego's), that's at least eight terms; but Alter may not only be older than or younger than Ego's parent; alter also may be younger than or older than Ego. So there might be 24 different kinds of parent's parent's child.
We'd have to know, or decide, how common it was to have an aunt/uncle younger than oneself.
The same applies to "blood" nieces/nephews, that is, Ego's parents' children's children. (These are the reciprocal relationships to those discussed in the preceding paragraph.)
And the same kind of math applies to Ego's parents-in-law (Ego's children's parents' parents). If the sexes of Alter and of both connecting relatives (including the child who is youngest in the chain) count, and it's important to be able to distinguish a parent-in-law younger than Ego, there could be 24 different kinds of parent-in-law.
It's a little different to talk about Ego's children-in-law (Ego's children's children's parents). Ego's daughter's daughter's mother can only be Ego's daughter; so also Ego's daughter's son's mother can only be Ego's daughter. And of course, Ego's son's daughter's father is Ego's son, and Ego's son's son's father is Ego's son. So Ego's children-in-law fit one of the following four descriptions:
Ego's son's daughter's mother
Ego's son's son's mother
Ego's daughter's daughter's father
Ego's daughter's son's father
If it's necessary to distinguish between a child-in-law older than Ego, a child-in-law younger than Ego's child (Alter's spouse), and a child-in-law younger than Ego but older than Ego's child (Alter's spouse), that makes four times three, or twelve, different kinds of child-in-law.
Similar considerations apply to step-parents and step-children; and some additional considerations too.
If Alter is Ego's child's parent's child (Ego's child's half-sibling, Ego's spouse's child), then there are eight combinations for the sexes of Alter and of the connecting relatives; although once Ego's sex is given, that particular Ego might use only four of them, since Ego's spouse can only be the opposite sex from Ego. Perhaps this must be multiplied up-to-five; the step-child can be older or younger than Ego's own child (Alter's half-sibling), and, if Ego's spouse (Alter's parent) is older than Ego, and Alter is older than Ego's chlld (Alter's half-sibling), then Alter might be older than Ego. So, if, in describing a step-child, one typically cares whether the stepchild's parent (the spouse) is older or younger than Ego, as well as whether the step-child is older or younger than one's own shared-with-Alter's-parent child; and cares what the sex of one's own child (Alter's half-sibing) is, as well as what Alter's sex is; then there could be 40 terms for "stepchild" (only 20 of which each particular Ego could use).
For step-parents, there are only 20 terms; because Ego's mother's child's mother can only be Ego's own mother, and Ego's father's child's father can only be Ego's own father.
So there might be at least 112 third-degree kinterms. (Though I seem to remember there are 160; maybe that's wrong.)
Fourth-degree terms include equivalents to great-great-grandparent and great-great-grandchild; to grandaunt and granduncle and grandniece and grandnephew; to first cousin; to grandparent-in-law and grandchild-in-law; to "ally" (child's parent-in-law or child-in-law's parent); stepgrandparent or grandstepparent and stepgrandchild or grandstepchild; sibling-in-law; step-sibling; and co-spouse (spouse's spouse).
It would require over a thousand terms (I think 1280) to distinguish all of these by relative ages and sexes of everyone in the chain from Ego to Alter; and still would require 1024 if we ignored the question of whether Alter was younger than or older than Ego.
2. Maybe I could decide that the first-degree kinships were Mother (M), Father (F), Sister (Z), Brother (B), Wife (W), Husband (H), Daughter (D), and Son (S).
Naively combining everything with everything, that would give me 8 first-degree, 64 second-degree, 512 third-degree, and 4096 fourth-degree kinterms.
But let's leave out anything with a Mother's Wife or a Sister's Wife or a Wife's Wife or a Daughter's Wife in it; and likewise leave out anything with a Father's Husband or a Brother's Husband or a Husband's Husband or a Son's Husband.
At one point Adpihi's kinship system was classificatory, in the sense that, for instance, Ego's father's brother was Ego's father (FB=F, as far as the language was concerned) and Ego's mother's sister was Ego's mother (MZ=M). Something like this applies also to the brothers of other male relatives and to the sisters of other female relatives. Ego's brother's brother is Ego's brother (BB=B), Ego's husband's brother is Ego's husband (HB=H), and Ego's son's brother is Ego's son (SB=S). Likewise ZZ is Z, WZ is W, and DZ is D.
At some times and places or in some circumstances Adpihi has or had a "Prescriptive Marriage System". This makes other things simple too.
A parent's spouse is a parent. MH=F and FW=M.
A parent's child s a sibling. MD=FD=Z and MS=FS=B.
A sibling's parent is a parent. ZM=BM=M and ZF=BF=F.
A sibling's sibling is a sibling. Not only is ZZ=Z, but also BZ=Z; not only is BB=B, but also ZB=B.
A spouse's spouse is a sibling. WH=B and HW=Z.
A spouse's child is a child. WD=HD=D and WS=HS=S.
A child's sibling is a child. DZ=SZ=D and DB=SB=S.
All of that makes the number if first-, second-, and third-degree kinterms manageable. Many or most (or even all) fourth-degree kinterms may still need to be phrases built using syntax, but there won't be thousands of them.
3. At the expense of ignoring the spousal, "-in-law", and "step-" relationships, one can thoroughly explore the full-, half-, one-quarter- and three-quarter- relationships.
Adpihi is made up of humans, so in Adpihi no-one's mother can also be someone's father (and vice-versa; no-one's father can also be someone's mother). (Among some other species this might not be so.)
There are at least six, and up to seven, people in Ego's family tree going back from Ego through and including both of Ego's parents and all four of Ego's grandparents, if we exclude parent-child incest and exclude full-sibling incest and exclude time-travel (so nobody can be their own parent or child or grandparent or grandchild, and nobody's parent or grandparent can also be their child or grandchild.)
Let's call them Ego, EgoM (Ego's Mother), EgoF (Ego's Father), EgoMM, EgoMF, EgoFM, and EgoFF.Let's just go ahead and assume that Ego, EgoM, EgoMM, and EgoFM are four different people, and that Ego, EgoF, EgoMF, and EgoFF are four different people. So there will be seven people in Ego's last-two-generations family tree.
Likewise, for Alter, there is a recent pedigree with seven people in it.
We can classify the relationship between Ego and Alter by which of the members of Ego's limited family-tree are identical with which of the members of Alter's shortened pedigree.
If we just assume for the moment that none of Ego or EgoM or EgoF appear in Alter's family tree, and none of Alter or AlterM or AlterF appear in Ego's family tree, there are seven possible combinations for how Ego's grandmothers are related to Alter's grandmothers:
EgoMM=AlterMM and EgoFM=AlterFM
EgoMM=AlterFM and EgoFM=AlterMM
EgoMM=AlterMM (but neither EgoFM nor AlterFM appear in the other family tree)
EgoMM=AlterFM (but neither EgoFM nor AlterMM appear in the other family tree)
EgoFM=AlterMM (but neither EgoMM nor AlterFM appear in the other family tree)
EgoFM=AlterFM (but neither EgoMM nor AlterMM appear in the other family tree)
None of Ego's or Alter's grandmothers is also a grandmother of the other.
Something similar is true for the grandfathers.
And these can be combined independently.
So there are 48 ways, (once we exclude "no relation"), for Alter to be Ego's half-first-cousin, full-first-cousin or double-half-first-cousin*, first-cousin-and-a-half, or double-first-cousin.
*(if, for instance, they share both grandmothers but don't share a grandfather.)
And that's before we account for the possibilities that one of the parents of one of them is one of the grandparents of the other (that would be a third-degree relationship, though).
More next post.
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