Kin Groups and Descent. Descent groups are identified by patronyms ( dyamuw; sing. dyamu ), many of which are common to other Mande-speaking peoples. In any community, individuals sharing a patronym who consider themselves agnatically related together form a kabila, with a designated head, the kabila tigi, A large kabila is divided into segments called so, lu, or gba. The precise meanings attached to these latter terms vary from place to place. Many kabilaw are too small to be segmented, and a village or town can include quite a number of unrelated clan wards, some of which might bear the same patronym. Kabilaw—and even segments of them— can be economically specialized. Internal disputes are settled by a council of the clan ward or segment as a whole.
Kinship Terminology. Kinship terminology is bifurcate merging in parents' generation, with Iroquois cousin terms in Ego s generation. Relative age is consistently stressed in Ego's and, to a lesser extent, in parents' generation.