Tojolab'al - Kinship



Consanguineous kinship terminology shows a clear cognatic orientation, in which the only indicated differences between collateral kin are by relative age and sex. The following terminology would be used by a male speaker: tatjun (male relative older than father or mother), me'jun (female relative older than father or mother), b'ankil (male relative older than Ego but younger than his father or mother), watz (female relative older than Ego but younger than his father or mother), and ijtz'in (male or female relative younger than Ego). The only variant for a female speaker is to replace the term b'ankil by nu'.

The idea of contrasting older with younger is not limited to kinship terms; almost all objects, beings (including supernaturals), and even cargos are conceptualized within a relationship of older/younger ( b'ankilal/ijtz'inal ). Hierarchy, determined by the criterion of relative age, is reflected in the humble and respectful conduct of minors toward their elders, and even in how work groups are structured.

In contrast to consanguineous kinship, affinal kinship is rather poorly delineated. Relatives by marriage are integrated into the consanguineous kinship system.


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