The Generative Logic of Dravidian Language Terminologies

Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 7, 2010

28 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2015

See all articles by Dwight Read

Dwight Read

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Anthropology

Date Written: August 2010

Abstract

Classificatory (“bifurcate merging”) terminologies with a ‘cross-cousin’ marriage rule are sometimes grouped together as Dravidian terminologies despite significant structural differences among the terminologies so classified. For example, the Kariera terminology has four ‘grandparent’ and ‘grandchild’ terms and does not have an older/younger distinction for ‘cross-cousin’ terms. In contrast, Dravidian language terminologies of India typically have two ‘grandparent’ and ‘grandchild’ terms and make an older/younger distinction for cross-cousin terms. These differences are not superficial and relate both to substantive differences in social organization for the societies in question and the “meaning” of ‘cross-cousin’ marriage. In this paper I develop the generative logic for the used by the Nanjilnattu Vellalar, a Tamil-speaking group in southern India. This logic underlies the structural features of the Dravidian terminologies such as the parallel/cross distinction used to characterize marriages in societies with Dravidian terminologies. The generative logic structurally distinguishes Dravidian language terminologies from other, superficially similar terminologies such as the Kariera terminology.

Keywords: Dravidian, kinship, structure

Suggested Citation

Read, Dwight, The Generative Logic of Dravidian Language Terminologies (August 2010). Mathematical Anthropology and Cultural Theory: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 7, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2624189

Dwight Read (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Anthropology ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1553
United States

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