The author sheds light on the fundamental meaning of matrimonial alliance in the Mongol pastoral society, characterised by patrilineal filiation. Among the Mongol the matrimonial alliance is above all a “social, political act, which aims at consolidating the social fabric through relationship between allies, and at reinforcing the group’s and the whole nation’s prosperity through the fecundity of a couple.” For this reason in the Mongol society lineages retain more significance than individuals. In the framework of the patrilineal filiation, a son must perpetuate his father’s lineage. As to the girls, their essential role is to perpetuate their husband’s lineage. They are supposed to leave their parents for living with their in-laws, according to the rule of patrilocal residence that usually prevails among the Mongols. These matrimonial alliances result in clans or lineages that give each other the title of “allied”, hud hudguj, i.e. parents through marriage. The Mongol term designating the alliance is common to all Mongol groups. At the same time, its semantic field has changed through time among the varied Mongol ethnic groups, giving way to confusions in interpretations. The present article provides some precisions at to this specific term.
In Khalkha, the term hud designates the groom’s parents in a matrimonial alliance, whence hudguj (formed by hud + the feminine suffix -guj) designates the bride’s parents. However hud can also have the broader meaning of matrimonial allies. Buriat language also knows the form huda, which recovers the notion of allied parents. Hudagy designates the mothers-in-law (in mutual relation), and by extension matrimonial allies, but not the bride’s party as in Khalkha. In Kalmuk, we find a form corresponding to the written Mongol word quad, translated by Ramstedt in his Kalmuk dictionary by “brother-in-law, remote parent; persons allied by their children’s marriage.” Among the Kalmuks, the term takes a reciprocal value. The Ordos Dictionary provides the form huda with the following meanings: “the chiefs of two families allied through their children’s marriage; a term designating the male guests of a wedding”, and for the form huduguj: “the huda’s wife; the female members of two families allied by the marriage of their children; a term designating the female guests of a wedding.” As a conclusion, the author writes that the terms hud and hudguj designate in several Mongol languages the “matrimonial allies”. However, if in Khalkha language the two terms oppose to parties, the bride’s parents (hudguj) to the groom’s (hud), in Ordos and in Buriat languages they oppose the two genders, viz. the mothers-in-law (and the female kinship) to the fathers-in-law (and the male kinship), whilst in Kalmuk language the term takes a reciprocal value.