Marshall, Lorna. The !Kung of Nyae Nyae

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Introduction: The Expeditions And Conditions Of Study

1 Orientation And Perspectives

Names And Dialects

The Nyae Nyae Area, The Dobe Area, The Nyae Nyae Region

Bushman Population And Distribution Of !kung

Linguistic Perspective

Bushman Origins And Migrations

The !kung Historical Perspective

2 Environment And Settlement

The Kalahari

The Seasons

Territories And Sources Of Water

Settlement And Fire

3 Plant Foods And Gathering

The !kung As Botanists

Woman's Work And Responsibility

Gathering Equipment And Methods

Some Observations On Gathering

Plant Foods Available To Band 1

Plant Foods With Edible Parts Underground


Seeds And Nuts





Pods From Two Leguminous Trees

Sources Of Water

4 Animal Foods And Hunting

Animal Foods

Hunting: A Male Activity

Lack Of Territorial Restriction And Lack Of Competition


Animals Taken

The Hunts Of September And October 1952


Oracle Disks

5 The Family And The Band


Average Number Of Living Offspring; Size Of Families

The Family

Bride Service

Composition Of The Family

Men And Women

The Band

Relationships On Which Bands Are Formed

Kxai K"xausi

Ownership Of Resources

K''xau N!asi


Size Of Bands

New Bands

Mobility And Stability


6 The Kin Terminology System

The Generational Method

The Joking Relationship

Some General Principles Regarding Terms

Terms Applied To Consanguineous Kin By The Generational Method

Terms Applied To Affines

The Homonymous Method

The Homonymous Method Of Applying Kin Terms To Consanguineous Kin And Affines

The Name-relationship

Use Of Kin Terms In Reference And Address

The Name-relationship As A Factor In Social Consolidation

7 Reserved Behavior


Avoidance Of Names

Forms Of Respectful Address

A Sitting Avoidance

Avoidance Of Entering Shelters

Avoidance Of Asking For Food

A Speaking Avoidance

8 Marriage

Marriage Prohibitions: The Incest Taboo And Its Extension

Categories 1 And 2. Kin And Affines

Categories 3 And 4. Stepparents And Name-relatives

Deviation From The Rules

Approved Marriages

Polygynous Marriage

Marriage By Capture

Arrangements For Marriage

Extramarital Sexual Relations

Offspring Of Extramarital Unions

Termination Of Marriage And Remarriage

9 Sharing, Talking, And Giving: Relief Of Social Tensions

Talking And Talks

Aspects Of Good Manners



Absence Of Stealing

10 Play And Games

The Play Of Young Children

The Play Of Boys

The Play Of Girls

Girls' Games

The Ball Game

Variants Of The Ball Game

N ≠ A N ≠ A Hau

A Form Of “london Bridge”

Four Riding Games

Jump Rope


Hopping On One Foot

Hopping On Two Feet

Girls' Dances

Boys' Games

The Porcupine Game, Or Axe And Assagai Game, Or War Game


Stick Throwing

Rides On An Old Kaross



Tree Climbing


Bows And Arrows


Tsamgao's Gun

Tsamgao's Camera


Games Played Both By Girls Alone And Boys Alone

Patterns In The Sand

Sound Patterns Made With Feet

Sound Patterns Made With Hands

String Figures

Mixed Group Games

Tsi Tsi Gwara

Four Dramatic Games

11 Music For Pleasure

The Hunting Bow


The Musical Bow

The One-stringed Violin

The //gwashi

The Men's Repertory

Songs Addressed To The Instrument

Songs Of The Mangetti Forest

Songs Of Birds And Wind In The Trees

Songs About Hunting, Failure And Success

Songs About Marriage

Songs Of Chagrin

The Women's Repertory

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The !Kung of Nyae Nyae

Published By: Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976. 26, 433p.: ill., map

By line: Lorna J. Marshall

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2005. Computer File

Culture: San (FX10)

Subjects: FOOD QUEST (220); FAMILY (590); KINSHIP (600); RECREATION (520); ARTS (530); MARRIAGE (580);

Abstract: This source provides a basic ethnographic description of the Nyae Nyae !Kung. Chapters are organized around the topics of environment and settlement, plant foods and gathering, animal foods and hunting, family and band, kin relationships and terminology, marriage, relief of social tensions, play and games, and music. Each of the bands in the Nyae Nyae area has been studied in detail and is represented in exhaustive kinship charts. Also included are summaries of the click (Khoisan) languages, racial affinities and characteristics of the San, and the prehistory of the San peoples. The source concludes with a list of !Kung artifacts made from vegetal and animal products. Marshall has been very thorough in her description of the topics chosen for discussion. Especially notable is the identification of many individuals, and kinship charts showing the relationships among individuals and bands. There are 66 artful photographs illustrating the text. Unfortunately, Nyae Nyae !Kung religion is not discussed at all, and ritual is mentioned only in passing. Most of the ethnography is based on fieldwork conducted prior to 1961, although some information from Richard Lee's later work is included.

Document Number: 17

Document ID: fx10-017

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1950-1961

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Christopher Latham

Coverage Date: 1950-1961

Coverage Place: Nyae Nyae region, Namibia and Botswana

LCSH: San (African people)


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