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Does anybody know of a natural language in which the kinship terms used for parents and children are governed not by the gender of the individual but whether or not the two people in the relationship are of the same gender?

This would mean that a son would call his father a but his mother b, a daughter would call her father b but her mother a, a father would call his son c but his daughter d and a mother would call her son d but her daughter c.

For the sake of clarity I have schematised this below:

  • Child–parent relationship:
    • son → father: a
    • son → mother: b
    • daughter → father: b
    • daughter → mother: a
  • Parent–child relationship
    • father → son: c
    • father → daughter: d
    • mother → son: d
    • mother → daughter: c
  • Not exactly what you want but a few phenomena come to mind: Royal Roman numerals like "Catherine III" imply a relationship between people with the same name and therefore the same gender. Similarly "Junior" and "Senior" is a phenomenon observed in the United States, almost always between two males. They also use Roman numerals like royals. – Adam Bittlingmayer Mar 23 at 19:44
  • "Abu X" and "Umm X" in Arabic almost always take the firstborn son. So "Abu X" doesn't mean just "father of X" but specifically "father of the son X". But this only applies when it's being used as a name, as a sort of honorific, the same words would be used in a generic sentence for the father or mother of a girl. – Adam Bittlingmayer Mar 23 at 19:44
  • @AdamBittlingmayer A numeric suffix means succession, not descent. Among British royals, Elizabeth I was not an ancestor of Elizabeth II; none of William II, III, IV was an ancestor of another of these nor of the future William V. – Anton Sherwood Mar 24 at 6:44
  • @AntonSherwood Yes. – Adam Bittlingmayer Mar 24 at 12:57

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