Kin Group and Descent. The Dai identify more with community than with kin group. The Dai always identify themselves with their homeland, the place where they were born, even when they live elsewhere. Except for the tusi and nobles, people historically had no lineage patronymics. In fact, the imperial court bestowed tusi surnames. As a given surname might have been granted to several tusi who had no kinship relations, it cannot be used to identify their lineages. Some common people (mostly in Dehong and other interior areas) got their surnames from schools or government workers after the 1949 Revolution. Nevertheless, the Dai distinguish mother's, father's, and wife's groups, with mother's group listed before the father's. In spite of this, however, the Dai trace descent patrilineally. Individuals now inherit their surnames from the father.
Kinship Terminology. Dai kin terms are of the Eskimo type with some regional variation. In Xishuangbanna, grandfather, maternal grandfather, and their brothers share the same term ( ipu ); grandmother, maternal grandmother, and their sisters share the same term ( ija). Parents' brothers share the same term with parents' brothers-in-law ( polong), whereas mother's brother's wife shares the same term with father's brother's wife ( mielong). Brother's and sister's children share the same term ( lan ) with the children of brother-in-law and sister-in-law regardless of generation.