Language Family and Sister-Cousin Kin Terms: Inconsistencies in Primary Kin Terms Within Language Families in Native North America. Further Discussion of Predictable Change in Sister-Cousin Terminology Systems. (Version 1.2 13 October, 2019) Jim Snoke In the linguistic literature, much has been made of cognate words for primary kin as examples to justify inclusion within a language family. The same primary kin terms, those for mother, father, sister, brother, son, and daughter, are expected to be found among societies belonging to the same language family. Moreover, the meaning of each of the terms is expected to be the same for each language within the family if membership in the parent family is determined by such terms. From language to language, the actual terms may be phonetically different to some degree
 however, the terms for mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter will not be different by definition and therefore by behavior. The problem here is that the same term has been extended from one culture to another to include or exclude additional male or female relatives
 therefore, it becomes necessary to explain why the
 of the term is different among cultures within the same language family. The terms in question are these:
“father” –
male member of ego’s kin group on the generational level above ego, and who reciprocally calls ego “son” or “daughter”.
“mother” –
female member of ego’s kin group on the generational level above ego, and who reciprocally calls ego “son” or “daughter”.
male member of ego’s kin group on ego’s generational level, who is descended from someone ego calls “mother” or “father”, and who, reciprocally, calls ego either “brother” or “sister”.
“sister” –
female member of ego’s kin group on ego’
s generational level, who is descended from
someone ego calls “mother” or “father”, and who, reciprocally, calls ego either “brother” or “sister”.
“son” –
male member of ego’s kin group on
the generational level below ego, who is descended from someone ego calls
“mother” or “father”, and who calls anyone descended from ego’s “mother” or “father” by the reciprocal term
“father” or “mother”.
“daughter” –
female member of ego’s kin group on the generational level below ego, who is
descended from someone ego calls
“mother” or “father”, and who calls anyone descended from ego’s “mother” or “father” by the reciprocal term
“father” or “mother”.
 In the current sample of 652 societies
, 9 of them, illustrated by Figure 1 below, are classified within the Penutian language family. Each of them is within the California culture area, and each of them is classified as a gatherer
 a society that subsists by a combination of hunting, and fishing. Within the Penutian language family, there is considerable variation in sister-cousin terminology. 5 of the Penutian speakers, Lake Yokuts, Miwok, Nomlaki, Patwin, and Wintu, have Omaha sister-cousin terms, a
Data for all culture areas are from Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas (1967). A period indicates no data for a
particular culture element.
 bifurcate-merging system generally patrilineal. 3 of the societies, Nisenan, Wukchumni, and Yokuts, have Hawaiian sister-cousin terms, in theory generational, and have no secondary kin
such as “cousins”
. One of the societies, Maidu, has Iroquois sister-cousin terms, a duo-lateral cross-cousin marriage system by definition, that should allow cross-cousin marriage. While Iroquois, Omaha, and Crow fall within the bifurcate-merging, sister-cousin logic, Hawaiian is entirely different as discussed in previous versions of this paper. Within the same language family, therefore, and also within the same language
 displaying only dialect variations
 there are bifurcate-merging and generational principles. These are not just slightly different
 they are utterly different. Figure 1. The Penutian Language Family Among Penutian speakers, and therefore among those societies that are at least distantly related historically and linguistically, there is considerable variation in the type of sister-cousin terminology and the basic principle around which these systems are organized. In the case of the Nisenan and Maidu, for example, each of them is found in the California Valley and in the eastern California foothills
 in close proximity to each other, and speak only dialect versions of a common language. However, the Maidu proper have Iroquois sister-cousin terms, while the Nisenan have Hawaiian. This is problematic for those who insist that language and culture are intricately related, and that kin terms for primary relatives are deeply embedded in inviolable rules dictating behavior. Additionally, only the Nisenan and Patwin allow some cousin marriage, while the rest have no cousin marriage. In the Nisenan case, cousin marriage should logically be prohibited as reflected terminologically with the extension of primary terms throughout the kin group
 however some cousin marriage is either allowed, preferred, or prescribed, even though Hawaiian should terminologically
prohibit “cousin” marriage
. Patwin, having an Omaha sister-cousin terminology system, should be expected to allow or prescribe matrilateral cousin marriage. In Figure 2 below, even greater discrepancies are present within the Hokan Language Family, possibly the oldest language family within the California Culture Area, and found in the Southwest and Plateau Culture Areas as well. Among the 21 societies in the sample, 12 have Iroquois sister-cousin terms, 3 have Eskimo terms, 2 have Hawaiian terms, 2 have Omaha terms, and 1 has Crow terms. There are remarkable differences here, particularly within the same cultures. Among the Northern and Eastern Pomo, for example, Omaha
Subsistence TypeCultural AreaSocietyCousin MarriageSister-Cousin TermsLanguage Family
Gatherer California Lake Yokuts none Omaha PenutianGatherer California Maidu none Iroquois PenutianGatherer California Miwok none Omaha PenutianGatherer California Nisenan some Hawaiian PenutianGatherer California Nomlaki none Omaha PenutianGatherer California Patwin some Omaha PenutianGatherer California Wintu none Omaha PenutianGatherer California Wukchumni none Hawaiian PenutianGatherer California Yokuts none Hawaiian Penutian
 sister-cousin terms are present. However, in Southern Pomo society the terms are Crow
 the matrilineal reverse of Omaha. These are serious problems for linguistic analysis within the same language, not simply within the same language family, because there is a shift within the same language in the definition of both primary kin and those who are not kin at all.
In the Omaha case, mother’s sister is excluded from ego’s kin group, and included in the Crow example. Likewise, in the Omaha case father’s brother is included in ego’s kin group and excluded in the Crow example.
Of serious concern also is the presence of Eskimo sister-cousin terms along with both bifurcate-merging and generational terms in the same language family. The Yana, Atsugewi, and Chimariko have Eskimo terms for sister-cousin
 Lineal in principle, and utterly different from either bifurcate-merging or generational. In the Lineal type of sister-
cousin classification, members of ego’s nuclear family –
 his or her direct lineal kin
are classified as primary, while mother’s sister, father’s sister, mother’s brother, and father’s brother are
classified as secondary kin
“aunts” and “uncles” in the Yankee system. It follows that offspring of someone ego calls either “aunt” or “uncle” are termed “cousin” –
 irrespective of gender. Figure 2. Hokan Language Family In Figure 3 below, there are 11 societies from the sample of 652 that are from the Siouan Language Family, a large linguistic community from the Plains and Prairies of North America. In this sample, 5 of the societies
 Omaha, Iowa, Oto, Ponca, and Winnebago
 have Omaha sister-cousin terms; 3 of the societies
 Crow, Hidatsa, and Mandan
 have Crow sister-cousin terms; and 3 societies
 Assiniboin, Santee, and Teton
 have Iroquois sister-cousin terms. In addition to the disagreement about kin
Subsistence Culture AreaSocietyCousin MarriageSister-Cousin TermsLanguage Family
Gatherer California Achomawi none . HokanGatherer California Atsugewi none Eskimo HokanGatherer California Chimariko none Eskimo HokanGatherer California Diegueno none Iroquois HokanGatherer California Eastern Pomo some Omaha HokanGatherer California Karok none Hawaiian HokanGatherer California Kiliwa none Iroquois HokanGatherer California Northern Pomo none Omaha HokanGatherer California Shasta none Iroquois HokanGatherer California Southern Pomo none Crow HokanGatherer California Yana none Eskimo HokanProducer Plateau Havasupai none Iroquois HokanGatherer Plateau Tolkepaya none Iroquois HokanGatherer Plateau Walapai some Iroquois HokanGatherer Plateau Yavapai none Iroquois HokanGatherer Southwest Cocopa none Iroquois HokanGatherer Southwest Kamia none Iroquois HokanGatherer Southwest Keweyipaya none Iroquois HokanGatherer Southwest Maricopa none Iroquois HokanGatherer Southwest Mohave none Hawaiian HokanProducer Southwest Yuma none Iroquois Hokan
 classification, there is also disagreement among Siouan speakers with regard to
“cousin” marriage. Omaha and Iroquois should logically allow “cousin” marriage, while Hawaiian should logically proscribe
it. However, the opposite is found in this sample. Figure 3. Siouan Language Family In the Iroquois case, the system is structured to classify cross-
“cousins” as non
-kin, and thus subject to duolateral marriage by prescription. However, cousin marriage is not present in any of the 3 cases. Likewise, in the Crow and Omaha cases
 where either patrilateral or matrilateral marriage should be prescribed, only the Mandan and Winnebago allow cousin marriage, while there is none among the Crow, Hidatsa, Omaha, Iowa, Oto, or Ponca. Again, as in the case of Penutian, there is considerable variation among societies with the same linguistic past, and apparent disagreement about cousin marriage. Figure 4. Algonquian Language Family In Figure
Subsistence Culture AreaSociety Cousin MarriageSister-Cousin TermsLanguage Family
Gatherer Eskimo Attawapiskat some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Northeast Delaware . Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Northeast E. Ojibwa some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Northeast Micmac none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Northeast Montagnais some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Plains Arapaho none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Blackfoot none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Blood none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Bungi some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Plains Cheyenne none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Chippewa some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Plains Eastern Cree some . AlgonkianGatherer Plains Fox none Omaha AlgonkianGatherer Plains Gros Ventre none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Naskapi some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Plains Piegan none Hawaiian AlgonkianGatherer Plains Plains Cree some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Plains Rainy River some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Katikiyegon some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Menomini none Omaha AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Miami none Omaha AlgonkianGatherer Prairie N. Saulteaux some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Nipigon some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Pekangekum some Iroquois AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Potawatomi none Omaha AlgonkianGatherer Prairie Shawnee none Omaha Algonkian
Subsistence Culture Area Society Cousin MarriageSister-Cousin TermsLanguage Family
Gatherer Plains Assiniboin none Iroquois SiouanGatherer Plains Crow none Crow SiouanProducer Plains Hidatsa none Crow SiouanProducer Plains Mandan some Crow SiouanGatherer Plains Omaha none Omaha SiouanGatherer Plains Santee none Iroquois SiouanGatherer Plains Teton none Iroquois SiouanProducer Prairie Iowa . Omaha SiouanGatherer Prairie Oto none Omaha SiouanGatherer Prairie Ponca none Omaha SiouanGatherer Prairie Winnebago some Omaha Siouan
 4 above, 26 of the societies are members of the Algonkian Language Family, the linguistic community with the largest geographic distribution in North America. Within culture areas, and hence near historical relationships between and among cultures, there is again a remarkable amount of variation in sister-cousin terminology and, therefore, the linguistic definitions for primary kin. Among Plains societies, 6 are Hawaiian, 5 are Iroquois, and 1 is Omaha. Again, Iroquois and Hawaiian are remarkably different in the bifurcate-merging/generational extension of primary kin terms. Prairie societies show obvious differences as well within the bifurcate-merging classification system. The Northeast Culture Area, like the Plains, shows divergence between bifurcate-merging and generational. In Figure 5 below, 26 societies show similar variation within the Athabascan Language Family. In the Northwest Coast Culture Area, bifurcate-merging and generational extensions of primary kin are present. Similarly, Plains societies show the same divisions, as well as divergence within bifurcate-merging as shown by the presence of Crow sister-cousin terms with the Kaska. Once again, there is also disagreement within kinship classification systems regarding the marriageability of cousins. Figure 5. Athabascan Language Family In summary, there are striking differences within language families with regard to primary kin terms and the individuals within the kin group to whom those terms are applied. The terms for father, mother, brother, sister, son, and daughter are either categorically different across bifurcate-merging and generational systems, or within bifurcate-merging the terms have been either extended or restricted in utterly different ways. In bifurcate-
merging systems, the terms “father” and “mother” are extended to
nclude father’s brother and mother’s sister respectively, while in generational systems the terms for
Subsistence Culture AreaSociety Cousin MarriageSister-Cousin TermsLanguage Family
Gatherer California Hupa none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer California Sinkyone none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Eskimo Ingalik some Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Eskimo Kutchin none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Alkatcho none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Chilcotin none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Nabesna . Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Tanaina none Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Tolowa some Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Northwest Coast Tututni some Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Plains Beaver . . AthabaskanGatherer Plains Carrier some Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Plains Chipweyan none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Chiricahua none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Dogrib . Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Jicarilla none Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Plains Kaska some Crow AthabaskanGatherer Plains Kiowa-Apache none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Mescalero none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Sarsi none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Satudene . . AthabaskanGatherer Plains Sekani some Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Slave none Hawaiian AthabaskanGatherer Plains Tahltan . . AthabaskanProducer Pueblo Navaho none Iroquois AthabaskanGatherer Southwest Lipan none Hawaiian Athabaskan
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