Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Yeah, I wish it made more sense too.

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Relativity Code

"Who's that in the red dress ?"
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(+1, -2)
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It's often difficult to precisely and quickly decribe the relationship between the speaker and a relative (who may or may not be present).


Q: "Who's that in the pale blue shirt ?"

A: "That's Jimmy. He's my youngest sister's husband's eldest son by his first marriage."
A "That's Jimmy. He's my sister's eldest stepson."
A: "That's Jimmy. He's my brother-in-law's eldest son ."

All are correct. All convey more or less the same information in different ways. The phraseology can be manipulated to imply the speaker's attitude to the subject.

However, a simple heirarchical code would make it easier do describe exactly, free of prejudice, the relationship betweeen the speaker and the subject.

This is done with a combination of letters and figures in sequence, as the relationship or connection becomes more distant.


M = Mother
F = Father
S = Sister
B = Brother
L = Lad (= Son)
D = Daughter
H = Husband
W = Wife

More codes can be added to this table.

One's birth mother would be M, one's stepmother M1.

One's sisters would be S1 for an only sister, or S1, S2, S3 in order of age.

One's step-brother (older) would be B1-1, but a true brother would be B1. Presuming the speaker is Male, an additional younger brother would be B3.

So to describe "My Stepmother's Husband's second daughter by his first marriage", you would say:

"Her ? That's Jenny, she's my M1D2-1"

Stepmother -> Step-daughter: second: first marriage".

A bit of clarification and rationalisation is definitely needed (sensible suggestions welcome) but the basic concept seems sound.

8th of 7, Jan 01 2008


8th of 7, Jan 01 2008

       Why wouldn't your birth mother be M1 and step-mom be M2?   

       What if I've gone back in time and am my own grandfather?
phoenix, Jan 02 2008

       Well you don't even need time travel for that one, just marry an older woman and if'n your widered pa marries her daughter...   

       You can't specify eldest or youngest. You would either need to add a Y or E such as SE4, the youngest of 4 sisters. You could also use a notation you may be familiar with to specify how many Bs and Ss there are.
marklar, Jan 02 2008

       If you add C (for cousin), then it would allow for an inquiry about the boy who's the progeny of your inbreeding cousins, on your Mother's side, to go a little like this.
Inquirer: Who's 'e?
Repliant: 'im? E=MC²
zen_tom, Jan 02 2008

       {respect to [zen_tom], for being the first to reach that joke}
pertinax, Jan 02 2008

       Somebody had to do it.
zen_tom, Jan 02 2008

       Love the mathematical approach. Second cousin of same generation on father's side = C^(2F). Second cousin of previous generation = C^(2F-1), second cousin of next generation = C^(2F+1).
RayfordSteele, Jan 02 2008


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