Burmese kinship

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The Burmese kinship system is a fairly complex system used to define family in the Burmese language. [1] In the Burmese kinship system: [2]

Contents

History

Many of the kinship terms used in Burmese today are extant or derived from Old Burmese. [3] These include the terms used to reference siblings and in-laws. [3]

Grades of kinship

The Burmese kinship system identifies and recognizes six generations of direct ancestors, excluding the ego: [4]

  1. Be (ဘဲ) - great-grandfather's great-grandfather (6 generations removed)
  2. Bin (ဘင်) - great-grandfather's grandfather (5 generations removed)
  3. Bi (ဘီ) - great-grandfather's father (4 generations removed)
  4. Bay (ဘေး) - great-grandfather (3 generations removed)
  5. Pho (ဘိုး) - grandfather (2 generations removed)
  6. Phay (ဖေ) - father (1 generation removed)

The Burmese kinship system identifies seven generations of direct descendants, excluding the ego: [4]

  1. Tha (သား) - (1 generation removed)
  2. Myi (မြေး) - (2 generations removed)
  3. Myit (မြစ်) - (3 generations removed)
  4. Ti (တီ) - (4 generations removed)
  5. Tut (တွတ်) or Hmyaw (မျှော့) - (5 generations removed)
  6. Kyut (ကျွတ်) - (6 generations removed)
  7. Hset (ဆက်) - (7 generations removed)

Extended family and terminology

Kinship terms differ depending on the degree of formality, courtesy or intimacy. Also, there are regional differences in the terms used.

Common suffixes

Burmese also possesses kin numeratives (in the form of suffixes):

Relationships

The Burmese kinship system also recognizes various relationships between family members that are not found in English, including: [4]

Members of the nuclear family

RelationTermForm of addressEnglish equivalentNotes
Fatherဖခင်
pha khin
အဖေa phay
ဖေဖေphay phay
Father
Motherမိခင်
mi khin
အမေa may
မေမေmay may
Mother
Elder brother
(male ego)
နောင်
naung
Brother
Elder brother
(female ego)
ကို
ko
Brother
Younger brother
(male ego)
ညီ
nyi
Brother
Younger brother
(female ego)
မောင်
maung
Brother
Older sister
ma
Sister
Younger sister
(male ego)
နှမ
hna ma
Sister
Younger sister
(female ego)
ညီမ
nyi ma
Sister
Husbandလင်
lin
HusbandInformal: ယောက်ျား (yaukkya). Formal: ခင်ပွန်း (khinbun).
Wifeမယား
maya
WifeInformal: မိန်းမ (meinma). Formal: ဇနီး (zani).
Sonသား
tha
Son
Daughterသမီး
thami
Daughter

Members of the extended family

Immediate lineage
RelationTermForm of addressEnglish equivalentNotes
Parent's fatherဖိုး
pho
Grandfather
Parent's motherဖွား
phwa
Grandmother
Father's elder brotherဘကြီး
ba gyi
Uncle
Father's younger brotherဘလေး
ba lay
UncleThe youngest uncle may be called ဘထွေး (ba dway).
Father's elder sisterအရီးကြီး
ayi gyi
Aunt
Father's younger sisterအရီးလေး
ayi lay
AuntThe youngest aunt may be called ထွေးလေး (dway lay).
Mother's elder brotherဦးကြီး
u gyi
Uncleဝရီး (wayi) is now obsolete.
Mother's younger brotherဦးလေး
u lay
Uncle
Mother's elder sisterဒေါ်ကြီး
daw gyi
AuntAlso ကြီးတော် (kyidaw).
Mother's younger sisterဒေါ်လေး
daw lay
AuntThe youngest aunt may be called ထွေးလေး (dway lay).
First cousinမောင်နှမ တဝမ်းကွဲ
maung hnama ta wun gwe
First cousinLit. "siblings one womb removed"
Nephews and nieces
RelationTermForm of addressEnglish equivalentNotes
Sibling's sonတူ
tu
Nephew
Sibling's daughterတူမ
tuma
Niece
In-laws
RelationTermForm of addressEnglish equivalentNotes
Brother's wife
(female ego)
Husband's sister
ယောက်မ
yaungma
sister-in-law
Elder brother's wife
(male ego)
Wife's elder sister
မရီး
mayi
sister-in-law
Younger brother's wife
(male ego)
Wife's younger sister
ခယ်မ
khema
sister-in-law
Sister's husband
Husband's younger brother
Wife's brother
ယောက်ဖ
yaukpha
brother-in-law
Elder sister's husband
(female ego)
Husband's elder brother
ခဲအို
khe-oh
brother-in-law
Younger sister's husband
(female ego)
Husband's younger brother
မတ်
mat
brother-in-law
Son's wifeချွေးမ
chwayma
daughter-in-law
Daughter's husbandသမက်
thamet
son-in-law
Spouse's fatherယောက္ခထီး
yaukkahti
father-in-law
Spouse's motherယောက္ခမ
yaukkhama
mother-in-law

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References

  1. မာလေး (1977). မြန်မာ့ဆွေမျိုးစပ် ဝေါဟာရများ (PDF) (in Burmese). စာပေဗိမာန်.
  2. Burling, Robbins (October 1965). "Burmese Kinship Terminology". American Anthropologist. 67 (5): 106–117. doi:10.1525/aa.1965.67.5.02a00740. JSTOR   668758.
  3. 1 2 Tun, Than (1958). "Social life in Burma, AD 1044-1287" (PDF).
  4. 1 2 3 Sein Tu (September 1997). "Myanma Family Roles and Social Relationships". Myanmar Perspectives. Archived from the original on October 26, 2007. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bradley, David (1989). "Uncles and Aunts: Burmese Kinship and Gender" (PDF). South-east Asian Linguisitics: Essays in Honour of Eugénie J.A. Henderson: 147–162. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  6. Myanmar-English Dictionary. Myanmar Language Commission. 1993. ISBN   978-1-881265-47-4.