Boruca, Bribri, and Cabécar - Kinship



The native kinship system is either followed or remembered. The degree to which the kinship rules are enforced is conditioned by the degree of transculturation of the group. The Boruca had the Hawaiian type of sibling-cousin terminology, but today they mostly follow Spanish rules and terminology. The Bribri and Cabécar largely maintain their matrilineal clan system. Bribri kinship terminology is bifurcate merging for the first ascending generation; sibling-cousin terminology is of the Iroquoian type; second ascending generation and second descending generation use reciprocal terms that distinguish Ego's mother's side from Ego's father side, and sex. Siblings address each other by the same term when the sex is the same (sister to sister or brother to brother) but vary the term when addressing siblings of the opposite sex. The Cabécar use the same terms as the Bribri, with only slightly different pronunciation, in Ego's generation. They differ with the Bribri in that terms applying to the male's first ascending generation are bifurcate collateral among the Cabécar. Their terminology is cognate with the Bribri one, except for the terms for father, father's brother and father's sister. The Talamanca have preferred to practice bilateral cross-cousin marriage; about half of them follow the custom. Formerly, the practice of sororal polygyny was widespread—and more acceptable than the occasional occurrences of it today.

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