Slovaks - Kinship



Kin Groups and Descent. Modern Slovak kinship is bilateral, resulting in large numbers of relatives. In many regions, Slovaks can travel to village after village and continue to find individuals with whom they share some kin relationship. In the past, Slovaks were patrilineal, organized in male-headed units termed rod (sing.), and were virilocal. The term for a small village, dedina, is derived from a kin term for elderly male relative or grandfather, dedo. Several families, closely related through males, formed residence colonies. This pattern survives today in the tiny hamlets that surround Slovak Villages. The modern term for family in Slovak is rodina.


Kinship Terminology. Although Slovaks now exhibit bilateral kinship and are moving toward an essentially Eskimo terminology, they retain a Hawaiian-type terminology for Ego's generation: terms for brother and sister are, respectively, brat and sestra, while male cousins are called bratanec and female cousins sesternica. In many parts of Slovakia and especially in rural areas, portions of what was once a descriptive kinship system is still in use. For example, there are Different terms for father, mother, father's brother, mother's brother, father's brother's wife, mother's brother's wife, brother's son, sister's son, brother's daughter, and sister's daughter.

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