|From:||Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, May 4, 2006, 4:14|
Here's something to ponder when you're next constructing a society, and a language to
suit its needs.
In English the term "brother-in-law" means two different relations:
* my brother-by-my-marriage = the man whose sister I married (my wife's brother)
* my brother-by-his-marriage = the man who married my sister (my sister's husband)
Some people say that it includes this relation:
* my brother-by-our-marriages = the man that my wife's sister married (my sister-in-law's husband)
To me, the term "-in-law" poses the question: "Under what law?"
What if ...?
... you visited a society where the following four were all different -
* my brother-by-my-marriage = the man whose sister I married
* my brother-by-his-marriage = the man who married my sister
* my brother-by-our-marriages = the man that my wife's sister married
* my brother-by-her-marriage = the man (not me) that my wife married --- a co-husband!
What would surprise you?
How could such a difference in status arise?
How would it alter the distribution of wealth by age and sex?
Would age be important? If so, why?
Would my brother-by-his-marriage (= the man who married my sister) be a different
relation to a man than to a woman? (Eg, IIRC, & CMIIW, under ancient Judaic law
and custom, a man was obligated to marry his brother's widow; this may have
been partly for her economic protection, and partly to give her sons on behalf
of his dead brother, so that "his line" might not die out.)
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