Page:Ethnological studies (Roth).djvu/76

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CHAPTER III.

SOCIAL AND INDIVIDUAL NOMENCLATURE: CLASS SYSTEMS, &c.

Contents.—Section 59. Introductory. 60. Patronym. 61. Gamomatronym. 62. Paedomatronym. 63. Heteronym. 64. Geneanym. 65. Genealogical Tree in the Pitta-Pitta Language. 66. Aboriginal and European Relationship-Equivalents. 67. Autonym. 68. Climanym. 69. Summary of Nomenclature. 70. Similar Systems in other portions of Queensland. 71. Probable Interpretation of the Class-Systems.

59. Introductory.—The complex nature of this subject, and the difficulty usually encountered in rendering it intelligible, will be my excuse for offering such elaborate detail as follows. At the outset it must be remembered that every individual aboriginal is related or connected in one way or another, not only with all other members of his own tribe, but also with those of other friendlies perhaps hundreds of miles distant, the majority of whom he has neither seen, dreamt, or heard of. Unfortunately, in the white man's languages, there are no adequate words of suitable application to give expression to these connecting ties, and hence the various terms that will here be brought into requisition must be understood as having a far more extended range of signification than would ordinarily be applied to them among Europeans. Every male is primarily someone's brother, father, brother-in-law, or mother's brother, while every female is similarly someone's sister, mother, sister-in-law, or father's sister. But these terms, "brother," "sister," "father," "mother," &c., in addition to their usual and generally accepted signification of relationship-by-blood, express a class or group-connection quite independent of it. For instance, the aboriginal uses the one and the same term, e.gg., "mother," to indicate the woman that gave him birth, the sisters (virgin or not) connected with her by blood, and the dozens of women connected with her by class or group on a basis of classification to be presently expounded (sect. 63). The same thing holds equally true for "fathers," "sisters," "brothers," &c., of each commodity of which an individual may have perhaps a handful in the camp, and heaps elsewhere. The term "sister-in-law," as here used signifies any female member of the particular group or class from among whom a man is allowed to choose a mate: hence the one and the same appellative will include a man's wife, and her blood-sisters, as well as the multitudinous sisters—other women—of the same group (sect. 63). A "brother-in-law" has a correspondingly similar meaning. Among all these aboriginals it may be said that blood and class bear equal nominal significance.

60. The Patro-nym, or Tribal name: depending on the blood-father. Each person belongs to the same camp or tribe as his or her own blood-father. Thus, if a Pitta-Pitta man marries a Yunda woman, their child is Pitta-Pitta; on the other hand, supposing a Yunda male has a child by a Pitta-Pitta female, the youngster becomes a Yunda—the sex of the offspring being immaterial. Hence the name of the blood-father's tribe may be well designated as the patro-nymic of the individual.

61. The Gamo-matro-nym: the name depending upon the suitable marriage-union and the blood-mother. Every person in North-West-Central Queensland belongs to one of two classes, as follows:—

oo-tǎ-roo or -koo-tǎ among the Pitta-Pitta and their messmates.
oo-tǎ-roo " -kǔt-tǎ, " " Mitakoodi.
woo-dǎ,-roo " -kǔt-tǎ, " " Miubbi.
ǔr-tǎ,-roo " bǔr-gǔt-tǎ, " " Roxburgh (Georgina E.) blacks.
woo-dǎ-roo " -kǔt-tǎ, " " Woonamurra and Goa.
oo-tǎ-roo " mǔl-lǎ-rǎ, " " Kalkadoon.

In the absence of a better etymological interpretation the resemblance at first sight of the above words to the equivalents of the Pitta-Pitta numerals for "one" and "two," respectively (sect. 36), is somewhat remarkable (see also sect. 62ƒ).