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Typology of Kinship Terms

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Larysa Nikolayeva

A kinship term is defined as a lexical item which is used to name a person who is connected by certain blood relations with other persons or a group of persons. Kinship term systems were first studied scientifically in the latter half of the 19th century by the American anthropological school, whose scholars researched the culture of inhabitants of the North American continent, often drawing on linguistic data from many Indian tribes. This book presents an analysis of structural and semantic peculiarities of kinship terms in forty languages belonging to ten families. It suggests general typological classification of kinship terms and semantic classification of reciprocal kinship terms. A number of typological generalizations – universals – of a probabilistic nature are formulated regarding the structure and semantics of kinship terms.

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