Son

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King Chulalongkorn of Siam (far right) with a few of his 33 sons at Eton College in 1897

A son is a male offspring; a boy or man in relation to his parents. The female counterpart is a daughter.

Social issues regarding sons[edit]

In pre-industrial societies and some current countries with agriculture-based economies, a higher value was, and still is, assigned to sons rather than daughters, giving males higher social status, because males were physically stronger, and could perform farming tasks more effectively.

In China, a One-child Policy is in effect in order to address rapid population growth. Official birth records have shown a rise in the level of male births since the policy was brought into law. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including the illegal practice of sex-selective abortion and widespread under-reporting of female births.

In patrilineal societies, sons will customarily inherit an estate before daughters.[1]

In some cultures, the eldest son has special privileges. For example, in Biblical times, the first-born male was bequeathed the most goods from their father. Some Japanese social norms involving the eldest son are: "that parents are more likely to live with their eldest child if their eldest child is a son" and "that parents are most likely to live with their eldest son even if he is not the eldest child".[2]

Specialized use of the term son[edit]

Christian symbolism[edit]

Among Christians, "the Son" or Son of God refers to Jesus Christ. Trinitarian Christians view Jesus as the human incarnation of the second person of the Trinity, known as God the Son. In the Gospels, Jesus sometimes refers to himself as the Son of Man.

In Semitic names[edit]

The Arabic word for son is ibn. Because family and ancestry are important cultural values in the Arab World, Arabs often use bin, which is a form of ibn, in their full names. The bin here means "son of." Consequently, e.g. the Arab name of "Saleh bin Tarif bin Khaled Al-Fulani" translates as "Saleh, son of Tarif, son of Khaled; of the family Al-Fulani" (cf. Arab family naming conventions). Accordingly, the opposite of ibn/bin is abu, meaning "the father of." It is a retronym, given upon the birth of one's first-born son, and is used as a moniker to indicate the newly acquired fatherhood status, rather than a family name. For example, if Mahmoud's first-born son is named Abdullah, from that point on Mahmoud can be called "Abu Abdullah."

This is cognate with the Hebrew language ben, as in "Judah ben Abram HaLevi," which means "Judah, son of Abram, the Levite." Ben is also a standalone name.

Indications in names[edit]

In many cultures, the surname of the family means "son of", indicating a possible ancestry—i.e., that the whole family descends from a common ancestor. It may vary between the beginning or the termination of the surname.

Arabic
Berber
Danish
Dutch
English
French
Hebrew
Hungarian
Irish
Italian
Norwegian
Persian
Tagalog
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Spanish
Turkish
Ukrainian
Welsh

References[edit]

  1. ^ James Peoples; Garrick Bailey (1 January 2011). Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. Cengage Learning. pp. 194–196. ISBN 978-1-111-30152-1. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Is the Eldest Son Different? The Residential Choice of Siblings in Japan". Retrieved October 24, 2012. 

External links[edit]