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Structure and Dynamics

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A New Approach to Forming a Typology of Kinship Terminology Systems: From Morgan and Murdock to the Present

  • Author(s): Read, Dwight W
  • et al.

This paper addresses typological relationships among kinship terminologies determined from structural differences in the way kin terms are organized as systems of concepts.  Viewing a terminology as a system of concepts makes evident the generative logic of a terminology that starts with properties shared across several terminologies and eventually includes properties specific to a single terminology.  These structural properties lead to a typology in which structural differences between terminologies form the branch points.  The typology highlights two primary dimensions along which terminologies may be distinguished: (1) structural differences between terminologies and (2) variation in the morphology of the lexemic form of kin terms.  Variation in the former relates to change constrained in the cultural domain and change in the latter relates to change constrained in the linguistic domain.

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