The Kinship Analysis Expert System

Instructions for constructing a kin term map in KAES

Note that while it is possible to elicit a terminology by entering the information directly into KAES, it is better to use the cultural frame.  There are several reasons.  The most important is that in doing the elicitation entirely in indigenous terms, you are sure you are not distorting the indigenous ideas that the terms represents–or at least probably not.  If you use KAES, you have to as a minimum translate the allowed input elements: generator, ancestor, descendant, and so on.  It is is entirely possible the these do not have exact indigenous counterparts, and the result therefore represents a distorted understanding.  Moreover, and perhaps even more importantly, you are not eliciting the basic indigenous ideas of the generative concepts, and if you do not depart from the protocol implicit in KAES, you will have no way to get them.

Assuming, then, that you have the kin term map to enter.  The first step is:

Click on KAES.jar

When Mainframe of KAES v4 opens, you have three buttons to choose from: New Terminology, Load Terminology or Load a terminology that is named in the right button.  This is the last terminology that was saved.  Load Terminology lets you search your computer. Click one

You then get the main working window. The file name is at the top.

To enter new position: operations>new term

When the entry box appears:

Click generator if term must be used in computations of additional positions, going outward.  In English, brother is used, as in father’s brother = uncle.  But cousin is not.  Father’s cousin is nothing definite.  Cousin’s father is unambiguous, but not going outward and not necessary to construct uncle.

A generator is a position, usually defined directly in relation to self, that is combined with another to compute a new position.  All generators are direct kin, but not all direct kin are generators.   For example, father is almost always a generator; father of father generates a new position, grandfather. Grandfather is not a generator because grandfather of a position is indeterminate.  The program allows a generator to be specified as ancestor, collateral +, collateral, collateral -, or descendant.  Pick one.

Self is not a generator.

Define gender.

Click ok.

Click on the background to register the definition of the position.

To relate a new position to others: click on lower big dot to start a line to a descendant. Drag line to top dot on the descendant position.  For collateral (sibling) start from side big dot, red for connection to male, blue for connection to female. Neutral gender is grey.  Start at the upper dot to connect the position to an ancestor (antecedent).  Program will connect the line to the appropriate smaller dot.

Spouse must be defined as a generator before spouses will be linked. Start with spouse of self.  If MS or FS, spouse of opposite sex can be defined in a position not linked to the map. Use same procedure: new term>enter name> gender>generator> spouse > ok.

If the descendant of a relation is the same relation, draw a line from the lower dot to the upper dot on the same position.  If the parent of a relation is the same (the reciprocal of the first condition), it should not be necessary to construct an arrow from the top big dot to the bottom.


Color code for text and arrows:

Red = female


Yellow= female collateral (sibling) yellow is hard to read.

Green= male collateral (sibling). Green is hard to read.

Grey= male or female

Orange= spouse.  (Orange is hard to distinguish from red.)

If the position is a collateral, upper and lower buttons indicate whether it is elder (upper) or younger (lower).  Younger to older relation should be shown by a heavier arrow ending at the elder of the pair.  Older to younger relation should be show by a lighter arrow ending at the younger of the pair.

The kin term table shows the product of all of the generators with all of the positions, if they do result in another position.  The generators are along the top row. All terms are in the left column. The table should be read as (generator) of (term in left column) is (term at intersection in table).

If the kin term table shows that a computed product is missing, it can be added in the table. KAES will make the change in the diagram.

BUT KAES is not good for correcting entry errors in defining positions.  For example, if you enter something as a generator and then realize that it is not, it probably will not suffice just to click on the position and unclick generator.  It will probably be necessary to go back to operations>new term, and enter everything again.