The Aymara Language in Its Social and Cultural Context: A Collection Essays on Aspects of Aymara Language and Culture

By M. J. Hardman | Go to book overview

5. Aymara Kinship, Real and Spiritual

Ransford Comstock Pyle

A brief analysis of the basic Aymara kinship terms will serve as a basis for contrast with the fictive kinship of compadrazgo.1 The basic distinctions that establish terminological differences are gender (male-female), generation (parent-child), and blood (consanguineal-affinal) (see tables 5.1 and 5.2). Of these oppositions the first two are distinguished by differences in the root while the third is morphological. For example:

Gender OppositionsMaleFemale
parentawkitayka
siblingjilakullaka
childyuqap″ucha
personchachawarmi
youthwaynatawaqu
Generation OppositionsOlderYoungerEqual
malesawkiyuqajila
chacha2wayna
femalestaykap″uchakullaka
warmi2tawaqu
Blood OppositionsConsanguinealAffinal
fatherawkiawkch′i
mothertaykataykch′i
sonyuqatullqa
daughterp″uchayuqch′a

The original title of this essay, prepared as a term paper for an ethnosemantics class in 1971, was "Compadrazgo and Kinship among the Aymara of Bolivia." Pyle found he had to understand basic kinship before he could undertake to describe the fictive. He was not, in fact, able to go as far as he had hoped into the ramifications of the fictive kinship system among the Aymara, a topic still not well studied beyond the surface characteristics.

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