Home    Number 2, 2012

Rethinking and Change of Terms in the Vocabulary of Contemporary Chinese Ethnology

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Evgeniia A. Kochukova | ri-jek@yandex.ru | Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology RAS


chinese ethnology, scholarly vocabulary, terms minzu and zuqun, nativization of ethnology


The article discusses the trends in Chinese ethnology since the end of the 20th century that have to do with scholarly vocabulary changes. It is during this period that the term zuqun, roughly corresponding to the English ethnic group, started to be increasingly used by Chinese scholars. For a long time before, the accepted term for ethnic group had been minzu, which is principally translated as nation and which figures both in the notion of Chinese nation and as a denominator for every single ethnic group in China; this has led to much confusion and difficulties, especially in translations from Chinese. To resolve this problem, a number of Chinese scholars adhering to the idea of terminological unifi cation have suggested using the new term zuqun, which in turn raises the disagreement among the nativization idea group who hold it that the term minzu should not be discounted as long as scholars agree that it implies both a nation and ethnic group.


Kochukova, E.A. 2012. Rethinking and Change of Terms in the Vocabulary of Contemporary Chinese Ethnology. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 2: 162-171

Full text is distributed by eLIBRARY.ru