Sama & Tausug Kinship Terminology
On the website Tausug 101, Anak Ilu has been posting wordlists as part of his teaching the Tausug language to those who want to learn. Here is a post that his readers could appreciate. I have been studying Ethnographic Research Methods and for a unit on kinship, with the help of my brother Paul and my wife Aida, we put together this list of Kinship terms in both Sinama and Tausug. Kinship can be different among every culture. It is interesting to see that even the Tausug and Sama kinship is slightly different. This is why simply translating English words into Tausug and Sinama doesn’t work. Anthropologists use kinship algebra as a way of describing terms precisely. I expanded on traditional kinship algebra so as to save space. I will be posting soon some kinship diagrams that would effectively show how Sama & Tausug kinship works.
Table A on Sama & Tausug Kinship Terminology
1. Mo (mother)
2. Fa (father)
3. Ch (child)
4. Sp (spouse)
5. Wi (wife)
6. 1st Wi (1st wife)
7. Other Wi (other wife)
8. Hu (husband)
9. Pa (parent)
12. Older Si (sibling)
13. Eldest Si
14. Younger Si
15. Youngest Si
16. PaPa / PaPaSi / PaPaPaSiCh
apu’ puun (uncertain)
23. PaSi / PaPaSiCh
(probably no equivalent)
24. PaBr (Brother)
25. PaSz (Sister)
kaki min t’dda
kaki min duwa
kaki min t’llu
kaki min mpat
27. SiCh / PaSiChCh
Noteworthy Kinship Relationships
The Sama and Tausug follow the Eskimo kinship pattern. There is a separate term for father and mother. Sama and Tausug kinship follows a bifurcate merging system where the descent lines from the mother’s side and father’s side are referenced in the same fashion. Brothers of the father and brothers of the mother share the same term in both Sinama and Tausug. Sisters of the father and sisters of the mother also share a different term for their relationship to ego. This system of using bapa’ (A-24) and babu’ (A-25) can be extended to cousins of one’s parents and presumably to second and third cousins of one’s parents when seen as beneficial or where these relations are still close and remembered. The generation above the ego does not distinguish degree of distance from the ego (i.e. first, second, third).
The generation equal with the ego is non-gender specific for both the siblings and cousins and degrees of cousins. Degrees of cousins (i.e. first, second, third) are expressed linguistically in both languages (A-26). We were able to elicit up to the second cousin level, though there are known third and fourth cousins who are still meaningful relationships.
The generation below the ego is also non-gender specific. English dictates whether a child is a boy or a girl within the term but Sinama and Tausug do not. Also this generational level does not count degrees of relationship. This means both a sibling’s child and a cousin’s child will share the same term (A-27). Ego was highly in tune to her relationships with her sibling’s children, but could also name many of her first cousin’s children and even some of her second cousin’s children. We were able to illicit hundreds of names and relationships from Aida, but her comment still was that she doesn’t know her family relations well, like her eldest brother and sister.
Two generations upwards (A-16) or downwards (A-20) on the Sama kinship diagram all share non-gender specific terms and make no distinction between a direct line descendant (or ascendant) and those from siblings and cousins. The Sinama and Tausug terms therefore can be glossed in English as ‘grandparent’ or ‘grandchild’. It is quite interesting that in Tausug, even grandchild and grandparent is the same word (apo’) and is therefore determined by context.
In Sinama great grandparents and great grandchildren are described using the kneecap. Mbo’ Tu’ut (A-21) means ‘grandparent of the knee-cap’. Great great grandparents/grandchildren are described using the pinky finger. Mpu kengkeng (A-22) could literally be translated ‘the grandchild of the pinky finger’. Aida was not able to speak definitively on the terms for these generations in Tausug.
Sinama distinguishes between grandparent and grandchild while Tausug does not. This also holds true for the term parent-in-law (A-10) and child-in-law (A-11). Tausug uses ugangan for both. Sinama uses mato’a and ayuwan.
One kinship term that we were did not reach in our elicitation and is not distinguished in English, but about whom Sama and Tausug are well aware of is the spouse’s, sibling’s, spouse (A-28).
1 thought on “Sama & Tausug Kinship Terminology”
MashaAllah, malingkat tuud 🙂 Gaid sin mataud sibu;’ in Bahasa Sug iban Sinama. I have long wanted to learn the Sinama Language @_@
Sir Luke, I would really want to meet you one day 🙂