Kin Groups and Descent. Formerly kin groups were closely knit to a rigid system of social rank. Today kin groups exceeding the household units, based on core families, have relatively little significance. Moral support may, however, be sought from relatives recognized through both male and female links. Bilateral relatives are also recruited for occasional communal tasks such as ritual activities and agricultural work.
Kinship Terminology. The Bonerate kinship system is clearly bilateral. Kin terms are the same whether the linking relative is one's mother or father. It is a generational system; all members of each generation are grouped terminologically. In the generation of Ego, relative age and the distinction between siblings and cousins are emphasized. Thus, elder siblings are referred to as ikaka and younger as yaisu. Gender is marked by adding the suffix moane (male) or vovine (female). Parallel and cross cousins are named sapisa. In the parent generation ina (mother) and ama (father) are identified; all other members of that generation are tuha, with the exception of the in-laws, who are davo. Grandparents and grandchildren are named ompu. One's children are anak. In everyday encounters, however, parents are referred to with teknonymic terms by the name of the eldest son.