Chinese Kinship

Chinese Kinship

The Chinese kinship system (simplified Chinese: 亲属系统; traditional Chinese: 親屬系統; pinyin: qīn shǔ xì tǒng) is classified as a Sudanese kinship system (also referred to as the "Descriptive system") used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Sudanese system is one of the six major kinship systems together with Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, and Omaha.

The Sudanese kinship system (and hence the Chinese kinship system), is the most complicated of all kinship systems. It maintains a separate designation for almost every one of ego's kin based on their generation, their lineage, their relative age, and their gender.

In the Chinese kinship system:

  • Maternal and paternal lineages are distinguished. For example, a mother's brother and a father's brother have different terms.
  • The relative age of a sibling relation is considered. For example, a father's younger brother has a different terminology than his older brother.
  • The gender of the relative is distinguished, as in English.
  • The generation from ego is indicated, like in English.

Chinese kinship is agnatic, emphasising patrilineality.

Read more about Chinese KinshipDemographics, Common Extended Family and Terminology, Larger Extended Family and Terminology, Distant Relations, Partial or No Consanguinity, Further Reading

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