Reading skills for academic study: Dealing with difficult words and sentences

Exercise 4

Dealing with difficult words.

In Sociolinguistics by R A Hudson, many new words are clearly explained in the text. Can you work out the meanings of the words in bold.

Most of the people are indigenous Indians, divided into over twenty tribes, which are in turn grouped into five 'phratries' (groups of related tribes). There are two crucial facts to be remembered about this community. First, each tribe speaks a different language - sufficiently different to be mutually incomprehensible and, in some cases, genetically unrelated (i.e. not descended from a common 'parent' language). Indeed, the only criterion by which tribes can be distinguished from each other is by their language. The second fact is that the five phratries (and thus all twenty-odd tribes) are exogamous (i.e. a man must not marry a woman from the same phratry or tribe). Putting these two facts together, it is easy to see the main linguistic consequence: a man's wife must speak a different language from him. We now add a third fact: marriage is patrilocal (the husband and wife live where the husband was brought up), and there is a rule that the wife should not only live where the husband was brought up, but should also use his language in speaking to their children (a custom that might be called 'patrilingual marriage'). The linguistic consequence of this rule is that a child's mother does not teach her own language to the child, but rather a language which she speaks only as a foreigner...
Word Meaning



genetically unrelated






patrilingual marriage


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