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Real-life Prescriptive Marriage Systems.
Posted: Posted December 15th, 2014 by chiarizio

Is anyone able to find anything about any reported real-life cultures with a prescriptive marriage system in which WBWBW = ZHZHZ ?

(To explain: "W" means "wife", "B" means "brother", "WB" means "wife's brother", "BW" means "brother's wife", "WBW" means "wife's brother's wife", and so on.
("Z" means "sister", "H" means "husband", "ZH" means "sister's husband", "HZ" means "husband's sister, "ZHZ" means "sister's husband's sister", and so on.)

Using Google I was able to find online-accessible reports of Presc.Mar.Systs with:
  • WB = ZH (so both kinds of "brother-in-law" are called by the same kinterm; likewise BW = HZ so both kinds of "sister-in-law" are called by the same kinterm)
  • WBW = ZHZ (so BWB = HZH, but WB is not ZH and BW is not HZ; there are two different kinds of "brother-in-law" and two different kinds of "sister-in-law")
  • WBWB = ZHZH (so BWBW = HZHZ, but WBW is not ZHZ and WB is not ZH.)

    In WB=ZH systems the two groups of men directly exchange sisters to be brides of the other group. Or, one might say the two groups of women directly exchange brothers to be grooms of the other group. The group containing a man's WBWB is his own group; likewise the group containing his ZHZH is his own.

    In WBW=ZHZ systems three groups of men provide their sisters to be the brides of another group in a "circular" pattern with period 3. The group containing a man's WBWB is that containing his ZH; the group containing his ZHZH is that containing his WB. The group containing his WBWBWB, like the group containing his ZHZHZH, is his own group.

    In WBWB=ZHZH systems four groups of men provide their sisters to be the brides of another group in a "circular" pattern with period 4. The group containing a man's WBWBWB is that containing his ZH; the group containing his ZHZHZH is that containing his WB. The group containing his WBWB is the group containing his ZHZH. The group containing his WBWBWBWB, like the group containing his ZHZHZHZH, is his own group.

    _____________________________________________________________

    I have been hoping to make a conculture with a Presc.Mar.Syst that isn't like any of those. I would want the bride-exchange circle to be five groups or larger.
    If it were five, then it would satisfy WBWBW = ZHZHZ ; but WBWB and ZHZH would be different, WBW and ZHZ would be different, and WB and ZH would be different.
    (W is not Z, and B is not H, in any real-life Presc.Mar.Syst. People can't be allowed to marry their biological siblings, so they mustn't be required to marry their "classificatory siblings" either, since biological siblings are among classificatory siblings.)

    Google can't find any of the strings WBWBW or ZHZHZ or BWBWB or HZHZH or any string of which one of those is a substring in any online-accessible document that doesn't clearly have some other subject than anthropology or sociology or (mathematical) group theory.

  • There are 3 Replies

    Using Google I was able to find online-accessible reports of Presc.Mar.Systs with:
  • WB = ZH (so both kinds of "brother-in-law" are called by the same kinterm; likewise BW = HZ so both kinds of "sister-in-law" are called by the same kinterm)
  • WBW = ZHZ (so BWB = HZH, but WB is not ZH and BW is not HZ; there are two different kinds of "brother-in-law" and two different kinds of "sister-in-law")
  • WBWB = ZHZH (so BWBW = HZHZ, but WBW is not ZHZ and WB is not ZH.)

  • Correction? maybe?: On re-reading I'm not sure that I actually have an on-line source claiming they found a period-four circulum connubium. I'm confident they've reported WB=ZH cultures, and WBW=ZHZ cultures; but I'm not sure they actually meant to claim the existence of a real-life WBWB=ZHZH (but WB != ZH) culture.

    Posted May 19th, 2015 by chiarizio

    A two-generated five-bounded otherwise-free group (the Burnside group B(2,5)) is huge; 5^34 members. So that would be impractical for a population of 5.820766091347*(10^23) people or fewer. That’s more than a hundred thousand million million million.

    It’s unlikely there’s any real-life example of what I was looking for.

    I chose instead to require that no grandparent of either party (bride or groom) belonged to any of the same lines (matriline or patriline or geun (“rope”)) as any grandparent of the other party. Not sure that’s just as good; have to 🤔 think about it.

    ————————————————————

    Anyone else have anything to add?
    Any application of the ideas above to your own concultures or conworlds or conpeoples?
    Any improvements or other variations to the ideas above?
    Any solutions to the unsolved problems above, or any better solutions to the solved ones?
    Any ideas a little tangential to the above?

    Posted December 28th, 2018 by chiarizio

    A two-generated five-bounded otherwise-free group (the Burnside group B(2,5)) is huge; 5^34 members. So that would be impractical for a population of 5.820766091347*(10^23) people or fewer. That’s more than a hundred thousand million million million.

    It’s unlikely there’s any real-life example of what I was looking for.




    The two-generated four-bounded otherwise-free group (the Burnside group B(2,4)), OTOH, is a more-reasonable size; 4096 members.
    A population of 2^25 = 32*1048576 = 32768*1024 people could have 8192 members of each marriageability section. That’s fewer people than the estimated or approximated 50 million that inhabited the Roman Empire, or that inhabited China at that same time.
    I don’t think 4096 kinterms is that much less reasonable than the 7*143 = 1001 anthroponyms I’ve designed for Adpihi and Reptigan; it’s only around four times as many.
    But I do think that a system in which only one out of every 4096 single young adults you might meet, might be marriageable to you, would probably be considered unreasonably or unrealistically constraining. Even though 2048 of them are your own sex anyway. That still means that, for (for instance) a debutante would find that 2047 out of every 2048 eligible bachelors she meets would be considered “too consanguineous” (more like too coeponymous) to her, to be marriageable to her.
    The system I’ve given late Adpihi and/or early Reptigan, (and possibly middle Adpihi and/or middle Reptigan), actually allows one to marry a bit more than half of the otherwise-eligible MOTOSs. (This is the system in which two people can marry provided no grandparent of either belongs to the same matriclan nor patriclan nor rope of any grandparent of the other; and there are 143 matriclans and 143 patriclans and 143 ropes. It wouldn’t work that way with fewer. For instance if there were only eight each of matriclans and patriclans and ropes, only one person out of every 343000 would be marriageable.)

    —————

    The system I am now considering for early Adpihi has 216 marriageability sections —— 108 sections of women and 108 sections of men. Only 1/108 —— fewer than 1% —— of the people of the opposite sex one might meet, could be expected not to be too “consanguineous”. In that system, there are just three matriclans and three patriclans and three ropes, and two people can marry provided neither belongs to any of the groups either parent of the other belongs to. If I kept that restriction, but expanded the number of clans to 19 of each type, that fraction would rise above 50%. So there may be a time when that restriction is en force, but there are more clans in the whole planet wide society; but some kid from some isolated underpopulated (and more importantly underdiverse) place that happens to contain representatives of, say, only four of each type of clan, decides he has to go to the big city to find a wife.

    Posted January 7th by chiarizio
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