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I don't think it's attested, but as far as naturalism goes I could see
the sort of system you

On Apr 5, 2005 2:08 PM, Kevin Athey <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >From: Roger Mills <[log in to unmask]>
> >
> No.  I haven't decided how siblings work yet.  The aspect I was wondering
> about (with respect to naturalism) was the differentiation by sex of ego of
> offspring terms.

> I want it odd, but I don't want it impossible.  Something you might find in
> some little out of the way hunter-gatherer community on Earth, or something
> that could eventually evolve from more common modern languages, given a few
> millenia.

I don't think it's attested, but as far as naturalism goes I could see
the sort of system you describe arising from a system that makes a
strong distinction between potential and taboo mates.  Here's an
example of what I'm thinking, beginning with a very simple
Hawaiian-type system.

po - father, uncle
ma - mother, aunt
boro - brother, male cousin
bara - sister, female cousin
so - son, nephew
data - daughter, niece

These bare roots would only be used for same-sex relatives and maybe
for other people's relatives.

po ami (my father/uncle, said by a male)
po aJose (Jose's father/uncle)
po aSara (Sara's father/uncle)

But Sara, on the other hand, must distinguish between male relatives
she might marry and ones she might not.  Let's suppose this society
has the simplest restriction: no marrying a nuclear relative.  Sara
must distinguish between taboo mates (suffix -m) and permissable ones
(suffix -i).  So:

borom ami (my brother, said by Sarah)
boroi ami (my male cousin, said by Sarah)
baram ami (my sister, said by Jose)
barai ami (my female cousin, said by Jose)

(Maybe also a suffix, in a small tribe, for relatives that you have
actually married.  -im, perhaps, because they are both marriageable
and now, since you've married them, nuclear.  "baraim" = "my
cousin-wife")

This makes "son" or "daughter" different depending on whether it's a
male or female saying it.  Jose's dad says "so ami" but his mom says
"som ami".  Now, these aren't separate roots, but given a couple
centuries of sound changes they could become so.  And perhaps
subsequently spread from just meaning one's own relatives to
everyone's relatives ("borom aSara" = "Sara's brother").

Such a system could be as complicated as one wants; I just chose a
Hawaiian system because it meant less typing for me.

--
Patrick Littell
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