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  • 1 Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Linguistic Studies 13 Olga Forsch Str., Apt. 244 St. Petersburg 195269 Russia
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This paper deals with the structural analysis of the system of kinship and affinity terms in Middle Mongolian based on all known lexicographical and narrative sources. The system of kinship and affinity terms is seen as a separate lexical group which is to be studied by methods of structural semantics, in particular by the method of componential analysis. This method is for the first time applied to the study of Middle Mongolian vocabulary. The meaning of each kinship or affinity term is defined in the meta-language of componential analysis in its two varieties, main structural features of the system are discovered and defined, the dialectal distribution, inter- and intradialectal lexical differences among the terms are described and presented in the form of tables. The morphological classification of the terms is given, the question of the polysemy of some of them is touched upon. The author comes to the conclusion that East Middle Mongolian dialects and their system of kinship and affinity terms could be in a more archaic stage of development than the language of West Middle Mongolian literary monuments. The results of the semantic analysis are compared with some historical and ethnographical data on the Mongolian social structure of the imperial period (in particular on kinship system and marriage rules).

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