Turkish Kin Terms

Turkish kin terms conform to a Sudanese pattern of kinship classification. Almost every relationship is assigned a separate category marked by a unique term.

Turkish Kinterms

In the above diagram father (baba), father's brother (emme), and mother's brother (dayi) each gets a separate term, as is the case for mother, mother's sister and father's sister. There are four cousin terms descriptively designated as children of the distinct parents concerned. There is however one more comprehensive term which includes both brother's and sister's children, yiken, which translates directly to the English term niece or nephew. Such a grouping of relatives is inconsistent the the overall Sudanese pattern of designation.

Turkish Kinterms Designated by Kin Types
Male Terms Only

Kinterm Kintype
Baba F
Kardesh B
Okul S
Emme FB
Dayi MB
Emme Okul FBS
Dayi Okul MBS
Yiken BS, ZS

Sterling's analysis of the Turkish system suggests that, in this instance, there is no clear connection between the pattern of categorizing kin and the social order of the peasant community.
Turkish kinship terminology does not correspond consistently to the structure of kinship roles. The situation is complicated by the use, in the villages, of the standard Turkish terms current in Istanbul, with only relatively minor variations of dialect and usage, although the two societies are very different. (Stirling, Life in a Turkish Village, p. 148)
See if you can come up with a better explanation by learning more about Turkish social organization and culture through the WWW edition of Stirling's Turkish Village).

© Brian Schwimmer, All rights reserved
Department of Anthropology
University of Manitoba
Page created: 1995