Please refer the following questions asked elsewhere on this site:
- Is there a word that means "the wife of one's brother"?
- What is the relationship name of my wife's brother to me?
I am a native Hindi speaker; Hindi has a plethora of terms referring to relationships. To take a trivial example, the term uncle may refer to father's elder brother, father's younger brother, mother's brothers, father's sister's husband, mother's sister's husband, all of which have specific addresses in Hindi.
I discussed the same with one of my teachers. She had the opinion that the development of language mirrors the cultural moorings of the society that uses the language. Now, since all of the above relationships have distinct status and reverence in the Hindi speaking society, that calls for different addresses. That may well not be the case in English speaking societies.
Is that correct? What other linguistic reasons may account for such a dearth of vocabulary in English in this area?