Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Kinship, optimality, and typology

Simon Musgravea1 and David L. Dowea2

a1 School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Clayton School of Information Technology, Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia. Simon.Musgrave@monash.edu http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/linguistics/staff/smusgrave.php

a2 School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Clayton School of Information Technology, Monash University, VIC 3800, Australia. David.Dowe@monash.edu http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~dld/

Abstract

Jones uses a mechanism from the linguistic theory, Optimality Theory, to generate the range of kin systems observed in human cultures and human languages. The observed distribution of kinship systems across human societies suggests that some possibilities are preferred over others, a result that would indicate Jones' model needs to be refined, especially in its treatment of markedness.

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