Teknonymy (from Greek: τέκνον, "child" and ὄνομα, "name"),[citation needed] more often known as a paedonymic,[1] 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.[2]

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")[2]
  • the Arab world; for example, if a Saudi man named Hasan has a child named Zayn, Hasan will now be informally known as "Abu Zayn" (literally, "Father of Zayn"). "Mother of Malik" is Umm Malik. This is known as a Kunya in Arabic.
  • Amazonia[8]
  • the Zuni language
  • Swahili, as spoken in Tanzania and Kenya[9]
  • to some extent, Habesha people in the Horn of Africa
  • The Yoruba language of Western Africa; for example, if a woman has a son named Femi, will now be known as iya Femi (meaning mother of Femi) and her husband baba Femi (meaning father of Femi).

See also


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary (2005), "paedonymic, n."
  2. ^ a b Lee, Kwang-Kyu; Kim Harvey, Youngsook (1973). "Teknonymy and Geononymy in Korean Kinship Terminology". Ethnology. 12 (1): 31–46. JSTOR 3773095. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Hammons, Christian (2010). Sakaliou: Reciprocity, mimesis, and the cultural economy of tradition in Siberut, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. University of Southern California. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Vilaça, Aparecida (2002). "Making Kin out of Others in Amazonia". The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 8 (2): 347–365. doi:10.1111/1467-9655.00007. JSTOR 3134479. 
  9. ^ Russell, Joan (2012). Complete Swahili, Teach Yourself. Hachette. 

External links

  • The dictionary definition of teknonym at Wiktionary