Sibling Terminology and Cross-Sex Behavior1


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    We want to thank Roy G. D'Andrade, William H. Geoghegan, Joseph Greenberg, Paul Kay, and John Whiting for reading an earlier draft of this paper and for their many constructive comments.


This paper examines variations among sibling terminologies and suggests a functional explanation for selected aspects of the differences among systems. It presents evidence to suggest that behavior that places emphasis on cross-sex relations will lend to produce terminologies in which siblings of the same sex are distinguished from siblings of the opposite sex. A possible typology of kinds of sibling terminologies is given.