Marking theory and kinship analysis : Cross-cultural and historical applications
Type de document
article de périodique
Marking theory and kinship analysis : Cross-cultural and historical applications Voir tous les contenus avec cette valeur
Nombre de pages
Date de publication
The concept of marking was discovered in phonology by Trubetzkoy and generalized to morphology and grammar by Jakobson. In a fundamental application to anthropology, Greenberg integrated a generalized concept of marking into a cognitivelinguistic theory of kinship universals. Greenberg's theory is important for three reasons: (1) it leads to the discovery and explanation of cross-cultural universals in kinship classification; (2) it predicts the order in which kin terms evolve and establishes, thereby, criteria for evaluating alternative, competing reconstructions of kinship systems; (3) it provides a means for inferring features of prehistoric social organization. This paper illustrates these applications and points out the typological and cognitive implications of marking effects in kinship systems. The analysis demonstrates that a formal deductive approach to kinship can yield results not obtainable by more usual informal and inductive methods.