Kinship Categories Across Languages Reflect General Communicative Principles

  title={Kinship Categories Across Languages Reflect General Communicative Principles},
  author={Charles Kemp and Terry Regier},
  pages={1049 - 1054}
Languages vary in their systems of kinship categories, but the scope of possible variation appears to be constrained. [] Key Result Because the principles of simplicity and informativeness are also relevant to other semantic domains, the trade-off between them may provide a domain-general foundation for variation in category systems across languages.
Kin Against Kin: Internal Co-selection and the Coherence of Kinship Typologies
Across the world people in different societies structure their family relationships in many different ways. These relationships become encoded in their languages as kinship terminology, a word set
No universals in the cultural evolution of kinship terminology
Abstract Abstract Kinship terminologies are the semantic systems of language that express kinship relations between individuals: in English, ‘aunt’ denotes a parent's sister. Theoretical models of
Simple kinship systems are more learnable
It is verified that objectively simpler kinship systems are easier for human participants to learn, and it is shown that the errors which occur during learning tend to increase simplicity while reducing informativeness.
Usage frequency and lexical class determine the evolution of kinship terms in Indo-European
An understanding of the scope and limits of social change is needed to understand changes in kinship systems, and broader context is necessary to model cultural evolution in particular and the process of system change in general.
Kinship and Human Thought
Kemp and Regier suggest that actual kinship systems optimize both ease of conception and communicative import, and Frank and Goodman provide an experimentally grounded characterization of communicative optimization.
Conceptual relations predict colexification across languages
In natural language, multiple meanings often share a single word form, a phenomenon known as colexification. Some sets of meanings are more frequently colexified across languages than others, but the
Compressible kinship terminologies are more learnable than less compressible alternatives
Different languages partition meanings into different semantic categories, labelled with words or morphemes. The scope of variation in these partitions is wide, as systems of semantic categories can
Induction and interaction in the evolution of language and conceptual structure
The thesis explores how inductive reasoning and communicative interaction contribute to simple and informative structure respectively, with a particular emphasis on how a continuous space of meanings, such as the colour spectrum, may be divided into discrete labelled categories.
Running head: CONCEPTUAL RELATIONS PREDICT COLEXIFICATION 1 Conceptual relations predict colexification across languages
In natural language, multiple meanings often share a single word form, a phenomenon known as colexification. Some sets of meanings are more frequently colexified across languages than others, but the


Human kinship, from conceptual structure to grammar
  • Doug Jones
  • Linguistics
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2010
It is argued that universals and variation in kin terminology result from the interaction of an innate conceptual structure of kinship, homologous with conceptual structure in other domains, and principles of optimal, “grammatical” communication active in language in general.
A Phylogenetic Analysis of the Evolution of Austronesian Sibling Terminologies
Maximum-likelihood and Bayesian phylogenetic comparative methods are used to tease apart the processes underlying the evolution of kin terminologies in the Austronesian language family, focusing on terms for siblings.
The Logical Analysis of Kinship
The present attempt to indicate the general manner in which the kinship system of a people can be stated as an interpreted axiomatic system, with utilization of the symbolism of modern mathematical
Cultural Constraints on Grammar and Cognition in Pirahã
The Pirah language challenges simplistic application of Hocketts nearly universally accepted design features of human language by showing that some of these features (interchangeability,
The myth of language universals: language diversity and its importance for cognitive science.
This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the universal characteristics of language are, once the authors honestly confront the diversity offered to us by the world's 6,000 to 8,000 languages.
The Meaning of Kinship Terms1
nologists by a simple and direct procedure: each term is matched with a primitive English term (e.g., "mother"), with a relative product of two or more primitive English terms (e.g., "mother's
Aspects of a formalist theory of kinship
I shall assume the general relevance of genealogy for kinship on the basis of my earlier paper (Lehman, 1993). I shall then proceed, first, to examine some further important formal properties of
D. Jones and B. Milicic: Kinship, Language and Prehistory: Per Hage and the Renaissance in Kinship Studies
This festschrift honors the social anthropologist Per Hage, best known for his work with Frank Harary applying models from graph theory to problems in anthropology. Toward the end of his career, Hage
universals and rule options in kinship terminology: a synthesis of three formal approaches
Widely divergent consanguineal systems (Crow-Omaha, Dravidian, Iroquois, and Eskimo) are shown to share a substantial core of rules and to display virtually identical relationships between superordinate categories.
Computer Enumeration of Significant Implicational Universals of Kinship Terminology
The discovery of general patterns and their subsequent explanation is a familiar method in linguistics and other cross-cultural research. This article addresses the computerized enumeration of