Tai Lue - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. No detailed studies of Tai Lue kinship are available. There is reason to believe that the multigenerational household and compound has been the major unit of social organization. It also appears that even villages close to the capital of Jing Hong have a strong tendency toward endogamy, suggesting that kin ties within villages are pervasive and that it is probable that villages act very much as kinship units. The literature suggests that succession in princely families was patrilineal and followed rules of primogeniture. However, experience with other Tai groups and the region in general suggests that though this may have been an expectation, dynastic disputes may have brought quite different outcomes. The question of matrilineal descent is also a problem. Many groups with close cultural connections to the Lue have a system of matrilineal descent particularly concerned with a cult of domestic spirits. There is no clear evidence about this for the Lue, but Kon Muang from Chiang Mai, who have family connections with the Lue, claim that a similar system was traditionally present.

Kinship Terminology. The Lue system is very like that of northern Thailand—generational, but distinguishing "elder" from "younger" in one's own and senior generations. The skewing of nephew/niece and grandchild terms is also present. In address the terms ai and ii, ambivalent in northern Thailand, are used as normal terms of address for adults as well as children.

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