Tanna - Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. The most important kin group is the nuclear family. People have a notion of patrilineal descent, and families group into something like patrilineages, localized at kava-drinking grounds. These larger groups, however, are perhaps better called "name sets" rather than lineages inasmuch as new members are recruited by receiving personal names rather than by being born into the groups. A man only becomes a member of his father's lineage if he receives one of its names. Up to half of all men receive names from someone other than their fathers, and thus they may belong to a different name set. Single lineage/name sets are joined into larger groupings, associated with particular places or regions. Finally, each lineage/name set belongs to one or two moieties, Numrukwen and Kaviameta, though today these have only occasional ritual importance.

Kinship Terminology. The terminological system is of the Dravidian type in which every person of one's generation falls into one of four categories: brother, sister, spouse, and brother/sister-in-law.

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