World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ethnonym

Article Id: WHEBN0002409762
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ethnonym  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hispanic, Name of Lithuania, Hispanic–Latino naming dispute, Crimean Tatars in Bulgaria, Caspians
Collection: Ethnonyms, Types of Words
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Ethnonym

An ethnonym (from the Greek: ἔθνος, éthnos, "nation" and ὄνομα, ónoma, "name") is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (where the name of the ethnic group has been created by another group of people) and autonyms or endonyms (self-designation; where the name is created and used by the ethnic group itself).

As an example, the ethnonym for the ethnically dominant group in Germany is the Germans. This ethnonym is an exonym used by the English-speaking world, although the term itself is derived from Latin. Conversely, Germans themselves use the autonym of die Deutschen. Germans are indicated by exonyms in many European languages, such as French (Allemands), Italian (tedeschi), Swedish (tyskar) and Polish (Niemcy).

Contents

  • Variations 1
  • Change over time 2
  • Linguistics 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Variations

Numerous ethnonyms can apply to the same ethnic or racial group, with various levels of recognition, acceptance and use. The State Library of South Australia contemplated this issue when considering Library of Congress Headings for literature pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Some 20 different ethnonyms were considered as potential Library of Congress headings, but it was recommended that only a fraction of them be employed for the purposes of cataloguing.[1]

Change over time

Ethnonyms can change in character over time; while originally socially acceptable, they may come to be considered offensive. For instance, the term Gypsy has been used to refer to the Romani. Other examples include Vandal, Bushman, Barbarian, and Philistine.

The ethnonyms applied to African Americans have demonstrated a greater evolution; older terms such as colored carried negative connotations and have been replaced by modern-day equivalents such as African-American. Other ethnonyms such as Negro have a different status. The term was considered acceptable in its use by activists such as Martin Luther King in the 1960s,[2] but other activists took a different perspective. In discussing an address in 1960 by Elijah Muhammad, it was stated "to the Muslims, terms like Negro and colored are labels created by white people to negate the past greatness of the black race".[3]

Four decades later, a similar difference of opinion remains. In 2006, one commentator suggested that the term Negro is outdated or offensive in many quarters, similarly, the word "colored" still appears in the name of the NAACP, or National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In such contexts, ethnonyms are susceptible to the phenomenon of the euphemism treadmill.

Linguistics

In English, ethnonyms are generally formulated through suffixation; most ethnonyms for toponyms ending in -a are formed by adding -n: America, American; Austria, Austrian. In English, in many cases, the word for the dominant language of a group is identical to their English-language ethnonym; the French speak French, the Germans speak German. This is sometimes erroneously overgeneralized; it may be assumed that people from India speak "Indian",[4] despite there being no language which is called by that name.

Generally, any group of people may have numerous ethnonyms associated with the political affiliation with a state or a province, with geographical landmark, with the language, or another distinct feature. Ethnonym may be a compound word releted to origin or usage, polito-ethnonym indicates that name originated from the political affiliation, like Belgian for inhabitants of Belgium that have their own endonyms; topo-ethnonym refers to the ethnonym derived from the name of the locality, like Uralians for the inhabitants of the geographical area near the Ural mountains that have their own distinct endonyms. Classical geographers frequently used topo-ethnonyms (demonyms) as substitute for ethnonyms in general descriptions or for unknown endonyms. Compound teminology is widely used in professional literature to discriminate semantics of the terms.

See also

References

  1. ^ Aboriginal Rountable (1995): LCSH for ATSI People.
  2. ^ Jr., Martin Luther King,; Holloran, Peter; Luker, Ralph E.; Penny A. Russell (1 January 2005). The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Threshold of a New Decade, January 1959-December 1960. University of California Press. p. 40.  
  3. ^ Message from the Wilderness of North America. A Journal for MultiMedia History article.
  4. ^ Bourne, Jill; Pollard, Andrew (26 September 2002). Teaching and Learning in the Primary School. Taylor & Francis. p. 34.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.