The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: genealogy and kinship terms
medium: diaries
person: Nga-mang/ of WakchingDzeam-ang/ of Wakching
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 5.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
seealso: notebook 2,pp.170,195
text: Wakching 5/8/1936. In the morning two small boys came again. Ngamang and Dzeam-ang. First I showed them pictures from Hutton's 'Sema Naga' and asked them to tell me the Wakching names for objects shown there. Then I asked them about kinship terms with the help of Ngamang's genealogy. However this was not very fruitful and Ngamang's father has no siblings who are alive and his mother comes from Shiong. (notebook 2 p. 170). Ngamang who is 10 or 11 years old and very intelligent does not know his mother's clan nor any of her relatives. He also does not understand the language of Shiong. His father's other two wives he addresses like his own mother as 'Ou-nin'. Far more useful was Dzeam-ang's genealogy as he has a wide circle of relatives (notebook 2, 195). It became apparent that for the form of address the relative age of the two people is significant. For example, Dzeam-ang addresses his older cousins with a kinship term and those younger than himself he addresses with their name. (165) I noticed one curiosity. Dzeam-ang is not at all allowed to address Nia-wang, the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter of his father's oldest brother. He may use neither name nor kinship term. She's about his age, maybe 8 years old. This avoidance is strange as Nia-wang is not even in the same clan and furthermore Dzeam-ang can call her younger sister by name, on the other hand his younger brothers can address both sisters.