Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Joe Blythe

Melanesian Kinship and Culture

Kin terminology structure and other social and cultural traits cluster in particular ways on a global level, such that “disharmonic” features can be interpreted as retentions of earlier systems, resulting from shifts in key aspects (such as a change from descent reckoning in the male line to the female line). We want to get at ancient patterns of social organisation and culture buried deep under a thick layer of Austronesian influence of much more recent origin. This can be done because in culture, as in language, features typically bundle in particular ways, and a mixed bouquet has a tale to tell. This task is designed to pick out any deviating features in particular societies to try and wrest from them their separate story of the distant past.

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Citation
Lindström, Eva. 2004. Melanesian kinship and culture. In Asifa Majid (ed.), Field Manual Volume 9, 70-73. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
Stable URL
http://fieldmanuals.mpi.nl/volumes/2004/melanesian-kinship-and-culture/