Page:Totem and Taboo (1919).djvu/22

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conjugal right of a man to a woman is violated.

The linguistic custom of these tribes, as well as of most totem races, reveals a peculiarity which undoubtedly is pertinent in this connection. For the designations of relationship of which they make use do not take into consideration the relation between two individuals, but between an individual and his group; they belong, according to the expression of L. H. Morgan, to the “classifying” system. That means that a man calls not only his begetter “father” but also every other man who, according to the tribal regulations, might have married his mother and thus become his father; he calls “mother” not only the woman who bore him but also every other woman who might have become his mother without violation of the tribal laws; he calls “brothers” and “sisters” not only the children of his real parents, but also the children of all the persons named who stand in the parental group relation with him, and so on. The kinship names which two Australians give each other do not, therefore, necessarily point to a blood relationship between them, as they would have to according to the custom of our language; they signify much more the social than the physical relations. An approach to this classifying system is perhaps to be found in our nursery, when the child is induced to greet every male and female friend of the parents