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1KUNG KIN TERMS, THE NAME RELATIONSHIP AND THE PROCESS OF DISCOVERY Richard Lee Of the many contributions that Lorna Marshall has made to our knowledge of the San, perhaps the most original and perceptive has been her discovery of the IKung name relationship. I say discovery because to my knowledge no one to that point had really explicated the name relationship or had understood its principles, although Dorothea Bleek had made a reference to the !Kun!a-!Kuma (old name-young name) relationsh
  1KUNG KIN TERMS, THE NAME RELATIONSHIPAND THE PROCESS OF DISCOVERY Richard LeeOf the many contributions that Lorna Marshall has made to ourknowledge of the San, perhaps the most srcinal and perceptive hasbeen her discovery of the IKung name relationship. I say discovery because to my knowledge no one to that point hadreally explicated the name relationship or had understood itsprinciples, although Dorothea Bleek had made a reference to the!Kun!a-!Kuma (old name-young name) relationship in her 1924 paperon the Bushman terms of relationship (Bleek 1924:57-70; see alsoBleek 1929, 1956). In 1957 Marshall published a paper entitled The Kin Terminol-ogy system of the IKung Bushmen, (Marshall 1957:l-25) 1 in whichthe normal Eskimo-type kin terms of the JKung were set out. Thebulk of the paper however, was devoted to how that normal kin-ship was affected by what she called the factor of the name. Among the !Kung, Marshall argued, primary kin are assignedkin terms conventionally as in Father, Mother, Brother, Sister,and so on. The great majority of the people addressed by Ego,however, are assigned kin terms not by their genealogical posi- tion relative to Ego, but rather on the basis of the personal name. Persons with the same name as Ego's father are to becalled father, those with Ego's sister's name are called sister, and so on. Marshall went on to document the rathercomplex rules by which the kin terms are assigned.The article cut a wide swathe in anthropological circles. Notonly did it establish Marshall as a perceptive ethnographer andauthority on an important case study, but it introduced into  78 RICHARD LEE kinship studies a new ordering principle based on personal naming.This system deflected attention away from the then current obses-sion in kinship studies with clans, sibs, and Australian marriagesections.Among the scholars influenced by Marshall's work wereJohannes Fabian and Aram Yengoyan, (Fabian 1965:663-718; Yengoyan1968) while others were stimulated to seek name relationshipsin other areas of the world (for example, see Guemple 1965). I entered the field in August 1963 with Marshall's article onkin terms in my knapsack, but it was not until some years laterthat I began to study IKung kinship seriously. Within six monthsof arrival at Dobe, I had been named by one family and adopted intoanother. My name, /Tontah, was a play on words. /Tontah fromthe standard repertoire of IKung men's names, but /ton byitself was the !Kung word for white man. Armed with my new nameand kin ties, I plunged into the kin community with enthusiasm; asI met new people, they instructed me in what term I was to applyto them.But soon things got very complicated. My knowledge of thekinship terminology was minimal. A few people were calling me bykin terms that flowed from their genealogical connection to my own parents, NIeishi and //Gumi.- A few others were using kinterms because they were related to other /Tontahs through the namerelationship. But many others were using kin terms that madeabsolutely no sense to me, either as genealogical kin or namesake kin. Clearly that I had a lot to learn about the kinshipsystem and social organization in general.When I began to work in earnest on kin terms in March 1968, Ionce again marveled at the clarity and accuracy of Marshall'sexposition. The generational and affinal sets of terms in usein the Dobe area were virtually identical to those she describedfor the Nyae Nyae area which lay some forty miles to the west of Dobe. Also in its simpler forms, the operation of the name rela-tionship functioned in the Dobe area much as Lorna had describedit for the Nyae Nyae.  1KUNG KIN TERMS 79 Except for these most direct sets of terms, however, the Dobearea informants did not conform to the rules as set out inMarshall's 1957 paper. At first I attributed this nonconformityto my unfamiliarity with IKung kinship and resolved to keep at it.But more and more terms for distant kin failed to followMarshall's naming rules, and in some cases these departuresapplied to terms for close kin as well (e.g., cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.). I began to entertain the possibility that someadditional rule or rules had escaped both Lorna and myself. Thepresent essay is an account of the search, during the course of fieldwork, for the missing principle and is a description of theprocess of discovery. Lorna Marshall had provided 90 percent ofthe understanding of !Kung kinship. What follows is an account ofthe outstanding 10 percent . THE KINSHIP SYSTEM 3 Kinship is the central organizing principle of societies likethe !Kung. Far from being of marginal or peripheral interest,when we understand kinship we understand the basic building blocksof social life. The purpose of this section is to spell out theparticular features of the !Kung kinship system and to getreaders inside this system so that they can see the world as theIKung see it.It will be useful to build our kinship picture in three phases. I start with the kinship terminology as we usually thinkof it, a genealogical diagram with Ego at the center and includingthe terms she or he applies to all kin. I call this diagram thenormal kinship, or Kinship I. Next I will introduce IKungpersonal names and the name relationship and show the ratherdifferent set of kin terms generated by this method, which I callKinship II. As we look further into the name relationship, aproblem emerges between the rules of Kinship I and Kinship II:the latter seems to destroy the sense of the former. This problemwas one I faced when making sense of IKung kin naming usingMarshall's 1957 rules. Eventually I found the answer, or at least  80 RICHARD LEE an answer that made sense to me. This key is the principle of wd.,which I call Kinship III. As I grasped the meaning of the w_iprinciple, a new sense of the beauty and coherence of IKung kin-ship began to emerge. The following presentation of Kinship Iand Kinship II draws upon ray own data and also the analyses ofMarshall (1976) and Fabian (1965). Kinship ILet us begin by introducing the kin terras for the immediatefamily. I will present the English equivalent first, then theanthropological short form, and finally the IKung kin term.Short FormFatherMother Son DaughterOlder BrotherOlder SisterYounger BrotherYounger Sister FMSDOBOZYBYZ Kin Term batai!ha ^hai !ko !kwitsintsinSo far, the kin terms follow our system in that there areseparate terms for F, M, S, and D, that is, Fj'FB, Mj'MZ, S^BS, andso on. The IKung do differ from English usage in the kin termsfor siblings. There are separate terms for OB (!Ko), and OZ (Ikwi), and younger siblings of both sexes are lumped under theterm tsin. Furthermore, sibling terms are different, as we shall see, from cousin terms.Let us next consider the terms used for grandparentsand grandchildren.
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