Māori kinship terms

It’s no secret that languages have different sets of kinship terms, some very complex, some not. Māori’s is very interesting.

For both male and female ego:

tipuna = grandmother / grandfather
pāpā or matua = father
whaea or māmā = mother
tama = son
tamāhine = daughter
hunaonga = daughter-in-law / son-in-law

Not telling your granpa from your grandma? Interesting, huh?  But wait, here’s more:

For a female ego it’s like this:
tāne = husband
tungāne = brother
tuakana = elder sister
teina = younger sister

Now, for a male ego:
wahine = wife
tuahine = sister
tuakana = elder brother
teina = younger brother

Thus, tuakana and teina really mean “elder sibling of the same sex” and “younger sibling of the same sex”. And you thought languages with obligatory elder/younger sister/brother differentiation were weird.

Next time – Māori personal pronouns.

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