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ConCulture: Kélen: Kinship Terms and more...

From:Sylvia Sotomayor <kelen@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 30, 2001, 1:18

The Kéleñi are matrilineal and matrilocal, and the kinship terms
reflect this.  They also have a tradition of adoption at any level
of kinship, and as adopted kin are considered to be the equivalent of
blood kin, there is little formal distinction between these sets of
terms. There is also a tradition of named-kin, people who are
accorded the politeness of kinship without many of the corresponding
rights and responsibility.

To start with an arbitrary generation, a person's same sex same
generation  sibling or cousin is one's matié. The corresponding term
for a person of the opposite sex is makája. So, a woman's sister is
matié and a woman's brother is makája. A man's sister is makája and a
man's brother is matié. This is because people are divided up into
same generation same gender groups that stay intact throughout a
person's life. So, a woman stays at home with her sisters, and a man
and his brothers will leave home at the same time and possibly all
get married en masse to a group of sisters.

Any same gender and generation kin who are not close enough to stay
with the speaker are referred to as makíra. A person's special
companion, perhaps a close sister or brother and/or lover is
maxántie.  A colleague in a guild is sometimes accorded the polite
term maténtie. In contrast, the word mamántie is sometimes used for
clan kin.

A woman's husband is márón if she is formally married with a contract
 between clans. This type of marriage is antéññesáci. These
contracts often have an expiration date and detail what is to happen
to the children and are essentially treaties (antéññi) between clans.
Sometimes a woman will take up with someone she has fallen in love
with and will adopt him or her into the clan. This is also maxántie,
as it is considered a permanent bond.

One's mother is málmára, provided she is one's heart's mother as
well as one's genetic mother. Otherwise the term mapára is used for
both mothers and aunts (a mother's matié). The polite term for a
woman of one's parent's generation but of a different clan is
matémpara. One's legal father is márón, and one's father's co-husband
is masówa. One's mother's brother is mawésa. One's father's sister is
not your kin, as she is likely of a different clan, so one could use
matémpara or the neutral term macéna ("woman"). A polite term for a
man of the previous generation in a different clas is matémwesa.

One's daughter is maláca and one's son is mamóíñ. Any female child
of the clan is also maláca. The neutral term for a child is mísa.
Children are raised communally by the women of the clan. Orphan
children partially taken in by the clan are maténisa. A grandchild is
mélíñ. The descendants of the clan are usually referred to with the
word tiláci. An infant, too young to mix with siblings, is macíwa.

One's mother's mother is márja. So is her sister. One's mother's
father is mamánsowe. One's father's parents are technically not one's
kin, though the polite terms maténarje and maténsowe are used. In
clan's where one grandmother is the head of the clan and others are
subordinate, the term mamánarje is used to refer to the other

Íráñi and Humans

There are two other species living on Térjemar: humans and Íráñi.
Some would dispute that the Íráñi are a separate species from the
Kéleñi, but the Kéleñi do not take that seriously. That said, Íráñi
are probably genetically modified Kéleñi, the modification having
taken place generations ago. The Íráñi generally speak the same
language as the Kéleñi, with dialectal differences due to location
and not to species.

The humans on Térjemar are mostly confined to the space station
Lánoráen and the port city of Mircállan. Most of them speak some
human language as their native language and only speak Kélen as a
secondary language if they speak it at all.

The Kéleñi on the whole prefer their own company and don't like to
mix with the other species. They consider themselves superior to
other species, sometimes to the point of classifying Íráñi and Humans
as animals.

That's all for now.
Comments and/or suggestions appreciated.
Sylvia Sotomayor
Harcourt College Publishing

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