Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/58

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36
[ch.
Kinship and Marriage Connexion.

parents are grandparents and ancestors. The terms tamai and veve must be translated by father and mother, and are used generally to all of the same generation with the parents who are 'near' and belong to the family connexion. A child, son or daughter, is natui; grandparent and grandchild, ancestor and descendant, is tupui[1]. The terms equivalent to brother and sister are used on a different principle from that with which we are familiar, and according to which the sex of the person referred to determines the use of the word. In Melanesia, as elsewhere, one word describes the relationship of persons of the same sex, and the other word describes the relationship of persons of different sexes. Men are tasiu to men, and women tasiu to women; men are tutuai to women, and women tutuai to men. There is a further difference, the sex being the same, the elder man or woman is tugui to the younger, the younger man or woman is tasiu to the elder; but tasiu is the prevailing use. It may be observed in this system of terms of relationship that all of one generation, within the family connexion, are called fathers and mothers of all the children who form the generation below them; a man's brothers are called fathers of his children, a woman's sisters are called mothers of her children; a father's brothers call his children theirs, a mother's sisters call her children theirs. Upon this it has to be remarked that this wide use of the terms father and mother does not at all signify any looseness in the actual view of proper paternity and maternity; they are content with one word for father and uncle, for mother and aunt, when the special relation of the kinship of the mother's brother does not come in; but the one who speaks has no confusion as to paternity in his mind, and will correct a misconception with the explanation, 'my own child, tur

  1. It may be observed that the principal terms of relationship are generally the same, not only in the Melanesian islands here in view, but throughout the languages with which the Melanesian languages are connected; mother being an exception. Common words however are not always used in the same application, as the Florida tubu is no doubt the Mota tupu.