This book examines the interface between language and kinship in the
Australian Aboriginal language Kunjen which is spoken in the Cape York
region of northern Queensland. The author shows that kinship relations play
a major role in determining the kinds of linguistic interactions that are
appropriate for different groups of individuals. The social meaning of
utterances depends more than anything else on kinship and one's kin
relations with those one communicates with. The rules of interpretation
used by Kunjen speakers to mediate kinship and language are as complex and
as pervasive as the grammatical rules of the language itself, and help to
reveal aspects of linguistic structure that might not otherwise be obvious.
Conversely, kinship structures can be illuminated, if not revealed, by the
study of language use.