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Teknonymy (from Greek: τέκνον, "child" and ὄνομα, "name") is the practice of referring to parents by the names of their children. This practice can be found in many different cultures around the world. The term was coined by anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor in an 1889 paper.[1]

Teknonymy can be found in:

  • Various Austronesian peoples:
  • the Korean language; for example, if a Korean woman has a son named Su-min, she might be called Su-min Eomma (meaning "mother of Su-min")[1]
  • the Arab world; for example, if a Saudi man named Hasan has a child named Malik, Hasan will now be informally known as "Abu Malik" (literally, "Malik's father"). "Mother of Malik" is Umm Malik. Such a name is called Kunya in Arabic.
  • Amazonia[6]
  • the Zuni language
  • In some extent, Habesha people in the Horn of Africa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lee, Kwang-Kyu; Kim Harvey, Youngsook (1973). "Teknonymy and Geononymy in Korean Kinship Terminology". Ethnology 12 (1): 31–46. JSTOR 3773095. 
  2. ^ Winarnita, Monika; Herriman, Nicholas (2012). "Marriage Migration to the Malay Muslim community of Home Island (Cocos Keeling Islands)". Indonesia and the Malay World 40 (118): 372–387. doi:10.1080/13639811.2012.709020. 
  3. ^ Geertz, Hildred; Geertz, Clifford (1964). "Teknonymy in Bali: Parenthood, Age-Grading and Genealogical Amnesia". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 94 (2): 94–108. JSTOR 2844376. 
  4. ^ Bloch, Maurice (2006). "Teknonymy and the evocation of the 'social' among the Zafimaniry of Madagascar". In vom Bruck, Gabriele; Bodenhorn, Barbara. An Anthropology of Names and Naming. Cambridge University Press. pp. 97–114. ISBN 9780521848633. 
  5. ^ Kao, Hsin-chieh (2012). Labour, life, and language: Personhood and relations among the Yami of Lanyu. Doctoral dissertation. University of St. Andrews, Department of Social Anthropology. p. 56. 
  6. ^ Vilaça, Aparecida (2002). "Making Kin out of Others in Amazonia". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 8 (2): 347–365. JSTOR 3134479. 

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of teknonym at Wiktionary