Kinship Terms in Tok Pisin

Even today Papua New Guineans stand under a host of kinship obligations which would seem oppressive to most Europeans and North Americans. Some traditional societies reckon kinship through the father, some through the mother, and some through both parents. Similarly residence and gardening rights may pass through the father, the mother or both. In some societies where it is believed that women sap men’s strength and endanger men’s health, husbands and wives did not live in the same house until forced by Christian missionaries to do so (and even today often live in separate rooms of a shared house). In some societies, certain relatives have an obligation to provide pigs, shell money and other forms of wealth (these days including increasingly large amounts of cash) to help a man pay the brideprice (braitprais; mani bilong baim meri) custom requires him to give his prospective wife’s family. The basic Tok Pisin kinship terminology is given below.

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