“I saw your sister and your uncle yesterday!” Oh, really? Great, but was it my younger sister or my elder one? Or do you mean my cousin? And, by the way, which of my uncles: my mum’s brother or my dad’s? Actually, it could also be the husband of my mum’s sister! Can you please be more specific? I know, it’s not your fault, the English language is quite limited in its kinship terminology.
Languages use different systems of terminology to refer to the individuals a person is related to, due to their unique classification of kinship relations. Since the topic is too complicated to be explored fully in an article like this, I don’t intend to go into much detail. Instead, I will just pick out a few interesting aspects and compare the way they appear in different languages and cultures. Continue reading “From Grandmas to Uncles: Kinship Terms Around the World”